JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19 could receive federal approval for kids from five to 11 years old in early November, according to a plan laid out by the White House on Wednesday.
More than two-thirds of eligible Americans who are 12 years and older are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and that number could soon expand further the White House acknowledged.
“If authorized, Pfizer vaccine for kids ages five through 11 will make an additional 28 million Americans eligible for vaccination,” said Jeff Zients, who is the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dr. Mobeen Rathore said the data so far is encouraging.
“It shows that the vaccine should be effective in children five to 11 years of age,” Dr. Rathore said.
He said kids would receive the same vaccine already approved for adults but in smaller doses.
“There’s no evidence that the vaccine in any way hampers the child’s growth or development,” he said. “It’s a protein that once you give it, it sort of metabolizes. [It’s] not even in the body anymore after it does its work.”
He said at most, kids could have a low-grade fever or soreness after getting the shot.
The White House said it will work with local education officials to bring vaccination clinics to schools. A spokesperson with Duval County Public Schools said it’s too soon to speculate on what may happen.
A spokesperson with the city of Jacksonville said the funding for vaccine sites is expected to continue at least through the end of the year.
“The number of health providers and retail locations offering vaccines continues to increase, so we are confident there will be a multitude of opportunities for children to be vaccinated when eligible,” said Stephanie Burch, who is the deputy chief administrative officer for the City of Jacksonville.
Dr. Rathore recommends parents take their kids to their pediatricians to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
“The most important thing to remember is it’s a safe and effective vaccine, and it’ll protect your children,” he said. “It’ll protect people around them, and the sooner we can get our children vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to normal life.”
The White House reported more than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers have already signed up to give Covid-19 vaccines to kids.