Pfizer vaccine may be available to 5–11-year-olds by Halloween

Pfizer vaccine may be available to 5–11-year-olds by Halloween
Posted at 6:19 AM, Sep 21, 2021

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Big vaccine news today, Pfizer says it's ready to start vaccinating kids as young as five years old. That is if it's given FDA approval to do so. On Monday, local doctors weighed in on the announcement made and discussed what it might mean for you.

The number of reported COVID cases among children has jumped nearly 240 percent since July according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, but help may be on the way.

"That's the next group of people we need to get vaccinated. Especially with kids getting back to school," says Dr. Mark Cockley of Thedacare.

Dr. Cockley is the Chief Clinical Officer at Thedacare and says the Pfizer vaccine could be made available to 5 to 11-year-olds as soon as late October, pending FDA approval.

"We just want to make sure we're giving the right dose, getting the right responses. We need to see we're protecting younger kids also," adds Dr. Cockley.

The Pfizer vaccine used on youngsters was only changed in one way, the company reduced the dosage size to a third of what they give those 12 and older. Early data released by Pfizer on Monday suggests it's effective in kids too.

"The younger kids have the same antibody response as older people would with a third of the dose," says Dr. Brad Burmeister of Bellin Health.

Dr. Burmeister says when vaccines were made available to kids 12 to 17 years old, about 45 percent of them got vaccinated in Wisconsin. He adds that if that trend continues with the 5 to 11-year-olds we could see the state's vaccination rate rise to over 60 percent.

"Which really could get us close to that tipping point where we would reach herd immunity with COVID-19," adds Dr. Burmeister.

FDA approval for vaccine usage in a new demographic of people has historically taken about three to four weeks to finalize, but many are ready for the shots to be administered today.

"Everybody is asking me if they can get it tomorrow. But there is a process here," says Dr. Ashok Rai the CEO of Prevea Health.

Dr. Rai says he understands how parents are ready to get their kids vaccinated today, but he says the process can't be rushed.

"It's great when a drug company says they've got good data. This is just the beginning, it's not the end. Now that data has to be peer-reviewed by people who don't work for the company," adds Dr. Rai.

Evaluating Pfizer's data could take up to a few weeks. If approved kids aged 5 to 11 could be getting vaccinated by Halloween.

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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