As Pfizer awaits approval from the F-D-A on a vaccine for kids ages 5-11, there are still questions surrounding the safety and strength of dosages.
NBC Palm Springs spoke to local experts and parents who are in support of the shot and why they think it will prove to be effective in younger children.
“I think this is going to make a huge difference in the fight against Covid-19,” said Dr. Tanya Altmann with The American Academy of Pediatrics.
The dosage used in the Pfizer study is a smaller amount than the dosage used for those 12 and older and health experts explain that it could carry the same preventative measures.
“The preliminary data that they released publically, that did in fact happen and the ⅓ smaller dose did produce the same prevention effect as the adult dose,” explained Dr. Michael Houge, Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy Deans.
Although the data from Pfizer has not been reviewed or published, the company says results show using a two-dose regimen of the vaccine, three weeks apart is safe and effective.
“This 5 to 11-year-old group is another group, our immune system is more mature at that stage and we understand how these vaccines work in the body based upon our previous experience with other vaccines,” explained Dr. Houge.
Parents whose kids attend schools in the Desert Sands Unified School District say they are hesitant, but ultimately support the study being done.
“I am thankful that other people are willing to their children sort of try things out and then we learn from that, so, at this point, I don’t fully feel comfortable doing it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t feel comfortable in two or three months, or even two or three weeks,” explained Lynsey Bernardi, DSUSD Parent.
In a house hearing in Washington D.C. Wednesday, doctors said the process to approve this vaccine is a rigorous one.
“We do believe that these vaccines are safe. That the process to bring them to approval even under ‘emergency use authorization’ is a very rigorous process. Nobody wants to put a child at risk. So we believe in the safety of these vaccines for all children when they’re ready,” said Dr. Margaret G. Rush, President of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
“This approach of using a lower dose, the lowest possible effective dose to achieve a positive result is a very good approach and is scientifically sound,” added Dr. Houge
And although kids mostly experience mild symptoms, according to the CDC 548 children have died of Covid-19 in the U.S. so far.
There are current trials underway for children under the age of five, some as young as 6 months old, the results on those trials are expected in the coming months.