Maine health care providers preparing for pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations

Health care providers in Maine are preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to a new age group at some point in the near future. Last week, drug maker Pfizer submitted data on their two-shot COVID-19 vaccine in pediatric patients to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. Pfizer’s injection was the first COVID-19 vaccine delivered to the U.S. public last year and the first to receive full FDA approval for adults. The Pfizer shots are available to anyone ages 12 and older. While the assessment process is expected to take several weeks, health care providers in Maine are closely monitoring the process to be ready to administer the shots to children ages 5-11. “I think this will extend to those who are protected with the vaccine and it will help us all tremendously as we try to put this virus behind us,” said Matt Marston, vice president of pharmacy for Northern Light Health. Marston explained that the version of the vaccine involved in Pfizer’s study is about a third of the dose given to adult patients. “Children develop a greater immune response than adults or the elderly. So a smaller dose would be expected to produce similar levels of antibody to what we see in adults,” Marston said. The prospect of opening vaccination to younger children comes as the virus continues to have a greater impact on children than it did earlier in the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has risen to record levels in recent weeks as the Delta variant continues to increase across the country. “A year ago, the COVID-19 virus was not particularly transmitted among children. But this delta variant is much more contagious and seems especially much more contagious around children,” says Dr. Dora Mills, a public health physician. and pediatrician at MaineHealth. Mills said the best way to give the injections to Maine children is through school vaccination clinics, similar to the program the state ran to distribute the H1N1 vaccine. According to the Maine CDC, about 53% of 12-17 year olds in the state have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. To convince more parents to get their kids vaccinated, Mills said health care providers will likely host virtual town halls to answer questions about the vaccine and highlight its benefits.

Health care providers in Maine are preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to a new age group at some point in the near future.

Last week, drug maker Pfizer submitted data on their two-shot COVID-19 vaccine in pediatric patients to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

Pfizer’s injection was the first COVID-19 vaccine delivered to the U.S. public last year and the first to receive full FDA approval for adults. The Pfizer shots are available to anyone ages 12 and older.

While the review process is expected to take several weeks, health care providers in Maine are closely monitoring the process to be ready to give the injections to children ages 5-11.

“I think this will extend to those who are protected with the vaccine and it will help us all tremendously as we try to put this virus behind us,” said Matt Marston, vice president of pharmacy for Northern Light Health.

Marston explained that the version of the vaccine involved in Pfizer’s study is about a third of the dose given to adult patients.

“Children have a greater immune response than adults or the elderly. So a smaller dose would be expected to produce similar levels of antibody to what we see in adults,” Marston said.

The prospect of opening vaccination to younger children comes as the virus is still having a greater impact on children than before in the pandemic.

The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has risen to record levels in recent weeks as the Delta variant continues to increase across the country.

“A year ago, the COVID-19 virus was not particularly transmitted among children. But this delta variant is much more contagious and seems especially much more contagious around children,” says Dr. Dora Mills, a public health physician. and pediatrician at MaineHealth.

Mills said the best way to give the injections to Maine children is through school vaccination clinics, similar to the program the state ran to distribute the H1N1 vaccine.

According to the Maine CDC, about 53% of 12-17 year olds in the state have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

To convince more parents to get their kids vaccinated, Mills said health care providers will likely host virtual town halls to answer questions about the vaccine and highlight its benefits.

Comments are closed.