Parents await Pfizer vaccine decision for kids

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Millions of parents across the U.S. are waiting anxiously for government regulators to decide if the Pfizer vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11.

An FDA advisory panel will meet on October 26th to consider Pfizer’s application for emergency use of their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

If the panel approves, the CDC is expected to make a final decision soon after, setting up a new wave of vaccinations just before the holidays.

Pfizer’s trial included nearly 2,300 participants ages 5-11 who were given two doses, 21 days apart. The mini-doses were 10 micrograms each, a third of the already-approved amount for adults.

Pfizer’s head of vaccine development said, “The level of antibody the vaccine is generating in children 5 to 11 matches the level of antibody that we know provides protection for individuals 16 years of age and older.”

The pandemic’s impact on kids has been wide-ranging. New research shows that nearly 130,000 children have lost a primary caregiver from COVID. A disproportionate number, 65%, are racial or ethnic minorities.

And this year, as schools began opening up, COVID cases among kids skyrocketed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics counted nearly 850,000 child COVID cases just in September representing more than 1 in 4 infections nationwide.

Despite that, a recent survey found a third of parents of 5 to 11 year olds say they will “wait and see” before vaccinating their children.

Medical experts are urging parents to speak to their pediatricians and consider other potential upsides to the vaccine, saying it can help children stay in school without interruption, allow them to participate in their favorite activities, and see older family members.

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