WACO, Texas (KWKT) – The Pfizer vaccine is now available for ages twelve and up, but an announcement made on Monday by Pfizer and Biontech could possibly change this. The companies say the vaccine is safe, and is showing neutralizing antibodies for children ages five to eleven after a second trial.
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Waco-McLennan County Health Public Health District spokesperson Kelly Craine says this is a positive thing for the community.
“This COVID vaccine is proven safe and effective,” Craine said. “Our younger groups of kids are being affected by that. We see that regularly through our age groups, that those children that can’t be vaccinated are one of our highest groups of infection these days.”
Pfizer says the response from the trial is comparable to previous studies for ages 16 to 25.
Craine says if the vaccine is approved, it’s another opportunity to keep children healthy – especially in schools.
“Right now, our elementary schools are in a situation where they don’t have a lot of protections,” Craine said. “Kids can get sick very easily. They don’t have any way to protect themselves. The shot would make a huge difference.”
The results from the trial came from 2,268 participants ages five to eleven.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement:
“Over the past nine months, hundreds of millions of people ages 12 and older from around the world have received our COVID-19 vaccine. We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization, especially as we track the spread of the Delta variant and the substantial threat it poses to children. Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination. These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”
McLane Children’s Hospital Section Chief for Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Manjusha Gaglani says it wasn’t possible at first to protect younger kids – but this could change that.
“I think a lot of parents are waiting, and hopefully they can all get vaccinated soon,” Gaglani said. “As soon as FDA review happens, and we have some sort of authorization.”
The next steps Pfizer and Biontech plan to take is immediately sharing the data with the FDA to see if this will be approved.
Vaccines for children six months to two years are expected in the next three months.
“Right now, we’re just excited that this could happen,” Craine said. “We don’t know when, but it just means that more people are protected, and COVID has less places to go.”