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Parents have questions as COVID-19 vaccine for young kids closer to reality

The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel voted Tuesday to recommend a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine for younger children.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 8:05 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 8:07 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Young children are one step closer to being eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel voted Tuesday to recommend a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine for younger children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Related: ‘A shield around my family’: FDA panel endorses Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11

However, for parents hearing this news, they may find themselves asking what should they do.

“I think I can speak for almost all pediatricians that we are super excited,” Dr. Laura Sinai, a Charlotte-based pediatrician, said.

Sinai, who has her own Charlotte practice called Pediatrics at Home, and other pediatricians said they are already preparing for the day, coming soon she says, when kids can get the shot.

“Your pediatrician, I can guarantee if they plan on getting this vaccine, have already taken 3/4, half the steps, so they’re ready,” she said.

When WBTV first broke the news about the FDA panel’s vote on air and on social media, questions from parents came flooding in.

A post on the WBTV Facebook page has dozens of comments and shares, with many asking their questions on social media.

FDA backs Pfizer's vaccine for kids

FDA advisers back Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. WBTV News Now Anchor Chandler Morgan WBTV and Reporter Caroline Hicks WBTV discuss what that means and what happens next. » https://bit.ly/3BtLsP7

Posted by WBTV News on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

One question is what dosage of the vaccine would children get? Sinai says that, if authorized, it’d be the same Pfizer vaccine, but a significantly smaller dosage.

Kids will get two doses 21 days apart, with each dose a third of the size used for those ages 12 and older. Sinai says that’s because of how our bodies react to vaccines.

“We know that young children have a different immune response to vaccines than adults, older children, so a smaller dose was tried and it showed to be highly effective and decreased side effects,” she said.

Another question is what is the next step. Tuesday’s decision was from the FDA’s independent advisory panel. The next step is for the FDA to meet to give the green light.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention also must make the final approval. That could come as early as next week, meaning vaccines for younger children could be available by next month.

“Yes, admittedly, children tend on whole do better than adults with COVID-19. However, that statistic is irrelevant to you if you’re the parent of a child who does not do well,” Sinai said.

She added if a parent is on the fence on whether to get their child the shot, they should talk with their child’s pediatrician.

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