(WXYZ) — The CEO of Pfizer says it’s only a matter of days before the company will seek FDA approval for Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
It’ll be the same process as we’ve seen with the other vaccine applications. Two committees must review Pfizer’s data. Up first is the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Panel followed by the CDC’s Advisory Committee. Assuming the application is granted Emergency Use Authorization, it’s very possible that vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 will be ready by the end of October, beginning of November.
I think this is good news. Because nationwide, kids continue to make up a good chunk of virus cases – almost 26% according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And last week, there were roughly 266 kids hospitalized daily with COVID-19. That’s just too many in my opinion. So I’m very hopeful that a COVID vaccine will cut these numbers down. And according to Pfizer, their clinical trials produced positive results. They found that children aged 5 to 11 generated a strong immune response that matched what was seen in teens and young adults. The dose for the younger kids was one-third the strength of what’s been approved for 12 and up. So 10 micrograms were administered, instead of 30 micrograms. And the smaller dose led to fewer side effects.
Just recently, the former FDA Commissioner Dr. Gottlieb predicted the current surge will die down by Thanksgiving. And Pfizer’s Chief Albert Bourla predicted that we’ll be back to normal life within a year. Some parents who are hearing these comments may be thinking “I’ll pass on the vaccine and wait this out."
I’m a parent, I get it. We all want to protect our kids. But even if the current surge is down by Thanksgiving, kids are still in school, and more people move indoors for the cold weather. And while everyone is done with the pandemic. Unfortunately, I don’t think the virus is done with us. We do not have a crystal ball that tells us that the virus will not mutate into a more dangerous strain.
As for Pfizer’s Chief, he was not saying the virus is going away. Yes, he’s predicting life will get back to normal. But he said in order to make that happen, we’ll likely need annual COVID shots. Now, I have said this many times, vaccines are the best way to end this pandemic. And children - while still at less risk for serious disease - they can still get very sick and need to be protected.