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UW Health doctors say new Pfizer data is promising for young kids

Pfizer said its vaccine is safe & effective for 5-11 year-olds
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 11:41 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:12 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5-11, a promising step in the race to protect kids from the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

Each shot of Pfizer’s two-dose series is about 1/3 of the dosage given to adults. The next step is for Pfizer to calculate and release its efficacy data, then it can request emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Dr. Bill Hartman is the principal investigator for UW Health’s Moderna pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trial and said the safety profile that Pfizer released for this age group is reassuring.

“The fact that the immune response, the anti-body response to the vaccine, even at this 1/3 dose was equal to what they saw in the adult dosing and the older kids, that gives us great confidence that this is going to be just as effective as their adult vaccine,” said Dr. Hartman.

Side effects were also minimal for kids who got the shots, consisting mostly of arm soreness or an elevation in temperature.

Dr. Hartman hopes this will be a confidence builder for parents who are on the fence about vaccinating their kids, especially since there were no cases of Myocarditis reported, which did occur in the 12–15-year-old age group trials.

“The myocarditis, especially in the teenage boys, likely was a result of kind of a tremendous immune response to these vaccines. Even though it was a pretty rare side effect, it’s one that is concerning, because it could damage the heart. It causes an inflammation in the muscle around your heart,” explained Dr. Hartman.

Dr. Hartman anticipates the emergency approval process for this vaccine from the FDA to be swift and is hopeful this could help decrease the amount of pediatric COVID cases nationwide as fall approaches.

“In the United States where we’re seeing this increase of pediatric cases of 240% and they now make 30% of all new cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. Hartman.

He added that Moderna’s safety profile and efficacy data for 5–11-year-olds should be released within the next month or so.

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