San Antonio pediatric doctor hopeful after Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine safe for kids ages 5 to 11

‘Soon as kids are able to get the vaccine, I hope that they all get it,’ says pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Kelly Smith

SAN ANTONIO – Monday’s announcement from Pfizer saying its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 could help San Antonio-area hospitals treat children for COVID-19.

San Antonio Metro Health reports that there are 22 pediatric COVID-19 cases in area hospitals.

Dr. Kelly Smith, a pediatric pulmonologist at Methodist Children’s Hospital, said prior to school starting, doctors used to see about four kids in the hospital for COVID-19. Now they see around 10 to 15 children at a time.

“Some kids, whether they have an underlying condition or not, just get really bad luck. And they’ll just have, for whatever reason, a completely healthy kid who then has a really, nasty case of COVID that ends up in the ICU, ends up on the ventilator or worse,” Smith said.

As of Monday, Methodist Children’s Hospital was treating 10 pediatric COVID-19 patients and one in the pediatric ICU.

“The problem with COVID is you can’t tell who its going to hit really hard,” Smith said.

Things could change in the next few months following Pfizer’s latest announcement.

“We wanted kids to get vaccinated before school. I wish they would’ve planned their studies so it would have been done by then. But the FDA is really good in the sense that they don’t cut corners. The FDA is very cautious. They’re very careful,” Smith said.

Smith said the COVID-19 vaccine will protect not only kids, but their families.

“In San Antonio, we have so many multigenerational households,” Smith said.

Smith reminds families to talk to their children’s pediatrician before making this medical decision.

“Soon as kids are able to get the vaccine, I hope that they all get it, all the ones that are able to,” Smith said.

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About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.