SAN ANTONIO – With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizing the emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, in Texas, that could mean up to 2.9 million children are eligible for the vaccine.
The CDC is expected to approve the decision on Tuesday.
Dr. Tess Barton, a pediatric infectious disease expert at UT Health San Antonio, joined Leading SA on Sunday to discuss what the data shows regarding COVID-19 vaccines for children.
“The data from the clinical trial for this age group, as well as the experience that we’ve had with the teenagers, previously shows that this COVID vaccine appears to be very safe. There are, you know, minor side effects that are actually really common: fever, sore arms, body aches, headaches. But, other more severe side effects are actually very, very rare,” Dr. Barton said.
Data shows the vaccine for children 5-11 years old is safe and effective against the virus, according to Dr. Barton.
“This vaccine looks very effective. The trials showed it to be just over 90% effective at preventing symptomatic disease. You know, of course, it’s not 100% effective at preventing getting infected in the first place, but it is actually quite effective. All of the cases that they had during the trial were after July, so they looked like they were during the delta surge. And I think that’s really promising,” Dr. Barton said.
We had a viewer reach out and email about their child who is 11-years-old, asking if they should they get the shot now, or wait for the adult dose?
“I would say go ahead and get in and get the dose. Now, you know, we know from the adolescent trials earlier on that actually the adolescents mounted a higher antibody response than what the adults did. And so, that lower dose is probably sufficient for that 11 or 12-year-old,” Dr. Barton said.
There are programs in the works for younger children to get their vaccines as well.
“Pfizer and Moderna are both doing trials down to age six months. That data is just not available yet. The trials are still ongoing,” Dr. Barton said.
So if you are interested, the plan is for the vaccine to be readily available once it is authorized.
“The plan is actually to try to get this in pediatricians’ offices this time around. So, the first thing I would say would be to call your pediatrician and see if they’re able to get it. And if not, then you know, the local pharmacy chains will have it, as well as UT Health San Antonio and University Health will be setting up systems for that,” Dr. Barton said.
You can watch the full interview with Dr. Barton in the video player above.