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Pediatricians, physicians prepare for vaccine approval for 5 to 11-year-olds

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A panel of the Food and Drug Administration’s outside vaccine advisers voted on Tuesday to back Pfizer’s request to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 5 years old.

The FDA still needs to formally authorize the vaccine and needs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to weigh in with its own recommendations.

However, that approval could come as early as next week.

Dr. Annie Andrews is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. She anticipates the Pfizer vaccine will be approved as early as next week for kids 5 to 11 years old.

She says this is a huge step in keeping kids in the classroom and reaching herd immunity across all age groups.

She says this vaccine will be one third of the dose that is currently given to old adolescents and adults. Children in this age group will still get two doses 21 days a part.

Andrews says she is working to answer questions from parents ahead of this next vaccine roll-out. She says in South Carolina, only about 30% of 12 to 19 years olds have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“So we, as a profession, have a lot of work to do in getting the message out that we really do believe that the benefits outweigh the risks here,” Andrews said.

The biggest concerns she hears from parents are about side effects and lack of long term data.

“As a scientist, I agree, long term data is really important,” Andrews said. “But, we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we don’t have access to long term data. But, we have access a lot of data about immediate risks to our children if they contract COVID or if they then down the line get MISC from an acute COVID infection. So, that is what we’re seeing in the hospital, we are not seeing anything related to vaccinations in those 12 to 19-year-old groups.”

Roper St Francis health care and MUSC both say they expect to get adequate amounts of dosage for children within a few days of receiving approval.

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