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Vaccine approval for children ages 5 to 11 expected before Thanksgiving

Local health officials anticipate the Pfizer vaccine could be approved by next month.
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Local health officials say vaccines for children are one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Thursday, Pfizer asked the U.S. government to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11.

The Food and Drug Administration will have to decide whether the shots are safe and effective in elementary school-age children. An independent expert panel will publicly debate the evidence on Oct. 26.

This comes as cases continue to rise in children ages 5-11 in Dane County.

According to Public Health Madison Dane County, an average of twenty children in this age group test positive for COVID-19 per day.

“Since school has began we’ve seen case rates increase more steeply among children than all other age groups,” said Manjari Ojha, a PHMDC data analyst.

Local health officials anticipate the Pfizer vaccine could be approved by next month.

“The CDC may act very quickly after the FDA’s meeting,” said Mo Kharbat, a VP of Pharmacy Services at SSM Health. “We have already begun planning to offer the vaccine for pediatric patients in early November.”

Doctors say a much smaller dose will be recommended for children.

“It’s going to be a third of the adult dose because a smaller dose has proven to be just as effective and as safe,” said Kharbat.

Meantime, Moderna is still reviewing its data from ongoing pediatric vaccine clinical trials.

Health officials say the Moderna trials are keeping a watchful eye on side effects in children.

“We’re trying to make sure 100% that the some of the side effects that we are seeing currently with the Moderna vaccine in the younger adults under 30 are not a safety concern for younger adults and kids,” said Kharbat.

VACCINE APPROVAL: Early November is when local health officials anticipate they'll be able to administer shots to children ages 5-11

Posted by Gabriella Rusk NBC15 on Thursday, October 7, 2021

UW Health is a site for an active Moderna pediatric trial.

Principal investigator for this trial, Dr. William Hartman, says its already evaluated children ages five to eleven.

“We want to make sure that these are the safest vaccines that can be given to our children, especially at this dose,” said Dr. Hartman.

He anticipates it will be another month for Moderna to gather all of the data that is necessary.

“It’s likely going to be closer to Thanksgiving or just after before we have an answer and enough data to put together as an emergency use authorization to the FDA,” said Dr. Hartman.

Doctors say Pfizer has kept to its early predictions of having a vaccine ready for children by late fall or early winter.

“The fact that they have been able to stay on the timeline gives me confidence that they didn’t really encounter any problems along the way,” said Hartman.

“The timeline that they announced back in the spring actually took the same course as announced and as anticipated,” said Kharbat.

To view the latest on Pfizer’s clinical trial findings, click HERE.

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