Pfizer said it will apply for an emergency permit for the COVID vaccine for children ages 2-11 in September, The New York Times reported – a prospect that pediatricians welcome.
The news comes because the FDA is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15 in the next week, sources say. In March, the pharmaceutical giant began testing the vaccine on children 6 months to 11 years old.
Pediatricians say vaccinating children, even toddlers, should play a big role in achieving herd immunity.
“I feel good about the science behind the studies,” said Dr. Anthony Giordano of Pediatric Healthcare Associates in Peabody. “Children under 18 make up about 20% of the country’s population. This will go a long way towards gaining immunity from herds.”
Most seem to think that 70-80% of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity – a process that would take at least 2-3 years.
While doctors say children are low on the spread of COVID, they say the risk to children from COVID should not be ignored. Giordano pointed to Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) as an example of the virus’s danger.
He said it’s “rare, but it’s very serious when it happens, so I wouldn’t say COVID infection in children is completely risk-free.”
Parents we spoke to said they plan to vaccinate their children for the good of the community, as well as for their own good.
“I’m excited about it for the safety of my family and those around us,” said Stephanie Lowitt of Newton.
She is a mother of two-year-old twin boys.
“I understand the skepticism, but these are scientific breakthroughs based on data and other vaccines that have been shown to be really safe and effective,” said Lowitt.
Karina Becerra is also a mother of a two-year-old girl, and she says she will vaccinate her daughter, despite being hesitant about it.
“Oh, total hesitation, but I think it’s also important to see the impact apart from just the child. As a whole community, we need to look out for each other,” she said.
Becerra’s hesitation lies in the potential side effects, but she knows her child has no underlying health problems.
“I think because they are a toddler and they can’t explain to you how they feel. Are they sick? Are they going to show fatigue? Are there any long-term effects that we just don’t know?” she explained.
But after the loss of family members to COVID, Becerra said it’s not a good idea, “As someone who’s seen the effects of such a terrible disease, I hope people understand that a possible vaccine is something that helps all of us, too. our children.”
Pediatricians say kids get the vaccines in doctor’s offices, and that’s a good way for parents to get questions answered.
“I think this is probably the best way to talk about it and have a good experience with it, having someone who knows your child who you feel confident and trust to have an honest conversation with you” Giordano said.