Weighing the risks with child COVID-19 vaccines
MINOT, N.D. – Pfizer submitted their emergency use authorization request to the FDA earlier this month for COVID-19 vaccines for children five to 11 years old. Nearly 30 million children in the U.S. would be eligible for the vaccine if it is approved in the coming weeks.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials in kids ages five to 11 showed positive outcomes in successfully creating an immune response against the virus, but does that mean that it is safe and even necessary for all children?
“Now things that they are going to be considering specifically for children are things like, ‘What does the disease look like in children as far as severity?’ and ‘How will these vaccines help at preventing these severe outcomes?’” said Kylie Hall, operations director for the Center for Immunization Research and Education at NDSU.
While the drug company is waiting for emergency use authorization, Hall said that the FDA may request full licensure for a product going to children, as there still are some major questions surrounding adverse side effects like myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.
“We see myocarditis associated with the MRNA vaccines, particularly in the younger crowd, that 12 to 17-year-old age group, in particular has the highest rates that we are seeing,” said Hall.
Adding that the five to 11-year-old age group trial may not have been big enough to pull out data on the condition.
Your News Leader asked for Minot parent’s thoughts on this, and many sent in emails and messages.
One parent in support of vaccinating children said, “I have one child who gets sick very easy. We have been all over the state for doctors and specialists. He has a weaker immune system, if he would ever get COVID I’d lose him forever. The vaccine can help prevent me from that.”
A parent opposed to the vaccine said, “I don’t believe any child should be vaccinated with this vaccine and have many friends with young children who think the same.”
Meanwhile, another against it said children have little to zero chance of dying from the virus, but that the vaccine can cause many serious adverse reactions saying in part, “Why would I ever let my child receive this how then the risks clearly outweigh the benefits?”
An FDA advisory committee plans to meet on Oct. 26 to discuss Pfizer’s request.
According to NBC News, the Biden administration is highly anticipating the authorization for Pfizer, and has already purchased 65 million pediatric doses.
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