Pfizer Seeks Emergency Use Authorization From FDA for Vaccine in Children 5 to 11 Years Old

Children 5 to 11 years old may be eligible for the vaccine by Halloween, Doctor Stephen Spector, distinguished professor of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases for UCSD and Rady Children's Hospital says

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There could be a vaccine for those children between the ages of five and 11 by the middle or end of November.  Pfizer is asking the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, saying it has data that show the vaccine is safe and effective.

“I have mixed emotions,” said Bonnie Jimenez who has a five year old in kindergarten and an eight year old in third grade. “I'm excited about the potential that they don't have to wear masks and their lives can return to normal like the adults who don’t have to wear masks now,” she said.

But on the other hand, she wants to wait for full FDA approval. “I want to wait until the FDA gives the full approval for the vaccine for children 11 and under instead of rushing to give them the vaccine with only an emergency authorization.”

Cassie Swortwout who has a five year old will not wait. “I'm definitely going to get my kid vaccinated as soon as it is available.”

She said children are also anxious about COVID. "Kids know people that have gotten really sick or died. This is traumatizing for them too. They see this and they don't want to get it."

“If we're going to get herd immunity, we need to immunize our children as well as everyone else,” said Doctor Stephen Spector a distinguished professor of pediatrics and chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases for UCSD and Rady Children's Hospital. “When you think that children in our country comprise 50 million of our population, that is a fair percentage of our population that has not yet been immunized…We can fill in the gap by immunizing people.”

He said not only could Pfizer get emergency approval for a vaccine for those 5 to 11 years old by Halloween, but he is working with UCSD and Rady’s to get approval for a Moderna vaccine for children 6 to 11 years old by the end of November.

He said Moderna and Pfizer are also working on vaccines for those as young as two years old, and for those as young as 16 months.

As COVID-19 vaccine trials begin for children, many parents may be understandably wary about signing their own child up as a subject. So we got Peter Pitts, a former FDA associate commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, to break down how vaccine trials for children work and how researchers ensure they're safe.

My hope is that we can get these vaccines approved as quickly as possible, that they are demonstrated to have the appropriate immune response that’s necessary to protect children and that we can have as many children protected as soon as possible.”

So, while Jimenez waits for full FDA approval, Swartwout cannot get it soon enough. 

Both want to keep their children safe and in school, and are hoping there could be a reassessment of masking or even testing if enough children get vaccinated.

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