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CDC approves use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 4:39 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After approval from the FDA, the CDC has approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

According to Dr. Lisa Rabinowitz, Staff Physician with Public Health on the Alaska COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, the approval process went quickly with the Director of the CDC giving her endorsement.

“The ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) met and unanimously voted to authorize vaccines for kids 5 to 11, including kids who have had prior infection or underlying medical issues,” Dr. Rabinowitz explained. “So that recommendation was sent to the Director of the CDC, Dr. Walensky, who then did endorse and accept those recommendations. So, we are now good to go for a Pfizer vaccine for that 5 to 11 year old age range.”

The vaccines have been adjusted for children in this age range, taking into account the difference between children’s and adults’ immune systems.

“When they did the studies on dosing, it is a third of the adult dose,” Dr. Rabinowitz elaborated, “Kids’ immune systems are just a little bit different so they can mount a great response with that lower dose, and we didn’t see a lot of side effects like we talked about last time in that age group. The effects after the vaccine, in terms of comparing to the 16 to 25 year olds, were similar and maybe even a little bit less in terms of pain at the shot site, low grade fevers, muscle aches, things like that.”

According to Dr. Rabinowitz, many pediatric providers are already offering vaccinations for this age group.

“Some parents have been eagerly awaiting this and have already had their kids vaccinated today,” Dr. Rabinowitz remarked. “This looks a little different from adult vaccinations in [that] a lot of parents are more comfortable in pediatrician primary care offices. We’ve been lucky to have such great partners with our primary care physicians setting up clinics to vaccinate so parents have a trusted health professional that they can ask questions. There are also some pharmacies and events that are happening for kids, but definitely a lot more in-clinic vaccinations.”

In Fairbanks, pediatric providers such as the Tanana Valley Clinic are offering vaccinations for children in this 5-11 age group.

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