COVID vaccine could be approved for children ages 5-11 by first week of November

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A COVID vaccine may be approved for children ages 5 to 11 as soon as the first week of November.

“When we began this pandemic one of the saving graces so to speak about all this was that we felt like kids were not impacted. What we’ve learned is that more children were infected than we knew, and we’ve also learned that with these newer variants that are more infective, children are becoming sick at an increased frequency and more ending up in the hospital,” explained Dr. Stephen Thacker, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Memorial Health.

With the holiday season set to kick off this weekend, medical professionals are awaiting the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11. They say it’s a major milestone in helping further stop the slowing spread of the virus.

“For the discussion around 5 to 11 for the Pfizer vaccine, the first step happens tomorrow where the FDA’s expert panel reviews the data that Pfizer’s made available, but final decisions really probably won’t come until the first week of November,” said Dr. Thacker.

Health Departments in the Coastal Health District along with Memorial Health have already submitted their pre-orders for kids doses, so its ready to distribute once approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Dr. Thacker, they’ve already began training their staff on the differences between children’s and adult doses.

“There are some changes with the vaccine in that for this age group, its about a third of the dose that we got as adults and adolescents, and also another change is how its made, how it’s formulated, and these are really good improvements in that now this vaccine can be stored for 10 weeks in the refrigerator,” Dr. Thacker said.

Dr. Thacker says he expects some parents to be hesitant before getting their children vaccinated, and recommends checking in with your pediatrician or family doctor if you have concerns.

“When I think about gatherings where we’re getting together with more older or more at-risk members of our families, gosh, one of the best things we can do to keep those people healthy and well is to have our young children vaccinated,” explained Dr. Thacker.

Thacker says he does expect a small spike following the holiday season, but another surge may be out of the question unless the disease mutates to a point where the current vaccines are no longer effective. Something he says is unlikely.

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