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Parents, MUSC doctors react to Pfizer announcement

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 3:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Pfizer announced Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine is effective in younger children, and it plans to seek authorization for 5-to-11-year-olds soon.

Officials with MUSC said this is an important step in fighting the virus here in the community. They said getting this age group vaccinated means kids can stay in school more safely and will keep out of the hospital for the virus.

Sarah Lesemann is a Mount Pleasant mom of one.

“I have a four year old daughter,” she said. “Her name is Audrey.”

Lesemann said she was excited to hear Pfizer’s announcement this morning. The company hopes to get emergency use authorization for this age group by the end of October.

Lesemann told us she is counting down the days until her daughter can get the shot.

“We wish it was 4 [years old] because our daughter doesn’t turn 5 until December so we’ll have to wait a little bit longer, but we’re looking forward to it,” she said.

Doctors at MUSC, too, said they’re happy to hear the news.

“[There are] a lot of really positive implications for not only the safety of our children with COVID but also an expanded ability to keep them in school,” Dr. Allison Eckard, a pediatric infectious disease physician at MUSC, said.

Eckard said hospitals across the state have seen exponential growth in the number of children admitted to the hospital for COVID since July 1. She told us every single child admitted to MUSC’s children’s hospital for COVID has been unvaccinated.

“Those severe covid cases, admissions, intubations, could have been prevented,” she said. “I’m just really relieved we’re taking this next step forward to hopefully protect more and more of our children.”

Eckard said she hopes to start working with local school districts to eventually vaccinate children at school, as well as at other vaccination events.

“I will reach out to them today to start planning this for whenever the [emergency use authorization] is finally approved,” she said. “It’s a really important, exciting step forward.”

Lesemenn said when her daughter can finally get that shot, she will feel a lot more comfortable about her daughter’s safety.

“I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief,” she said.

According to Dr. Eckard, the dose is smaller for this new age group. It’s a third of the dose of what adults get. She said she anticipates the roll out of the vaccine for this age group to be smooth once it’s officially approved.

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