This week, a panel with the Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend the use of Pfizer‘s Covid-19 vaccine for children under 12.
The vote inches the US closer to having a fully approved Covid-19 vaccine for children under 12–– who still make up a bigger portion of new cases and hospitalization months after the school year started.
Even with the recommendation, there’s still a few steps to getting the vaccine fully approved for use in children age 5 to 11, but it offers hope for some who’ve been looking to get the dose for their kids.
So what’s in the vaccine and how is it different from the vaccine millions have already taken? Here are 5 things you should know about Pfizer’s vaccine for children.
FDA’s Recommendation is Based on Data
The FDA used the results of a study that used two doses, each one-third of an adult dose on kids.
The study gave the smaller doses three weeks apart and found that it was 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections in the 2,268 study participants.
Some panel members did voice concern about the lack of data on using just one dose instead of two.
You Can’t Get Your Kids Under 12 Vaccinated Yet
Even though the panel voted to recommend the vaccine, it still has to be approved by the FDA. The panel voted 17-0 (with one abstention) to recommend Pfizer’s vaccine for children under 12.
Children over 12 are eligible for the vaccines that are out now.
If approved and made available for kids, the Biden administration has said that its already purchased enough of Pfizer’s kids vaccine to provide coverage to the country’s 28 million youngsters between 5-11.
Can Kids Get Covid-19?
Yes. According to CDC data, coronavirus infections were the 8th leading cause of death in children ages 5 to 11. Even though kids are less likely than adults to become severely sick by Covid-19 or require hospitalizations, they are just as likely as adults to get infected.
The US marked 94 Covid-19 deaths in children ages 5-11 as of October 16 of this year. More than 8,300 children in this age range have been hospitalized as a result of a Covid infection.
What About Side Effects?
In the study, most children had what were described as “mild” symptoms that lasted the first and second days after getting the vaccine.
The most common side effects were pain at the site where the vaccine was injected, fatigue, headache, and muscle pain.
After three months, the study did not report any cases of myocarditis –– an inflammation of the heart –– that had previously been seen in teens and young men in their 20s who took the Pfizer vaccine. The condition was rare, occurring in 2 in 100,000 cases after the Pfizer vaccine. The condition can also be caused by Covid-19 and is typically more severe when the virus causes it than when a vaccine is associated, the CDC said.
Where Can I Find Out More?
As the FDA moves through the approval process, it may be helpful to speak with your child’s doctor or healthcare professional about more on the vaccine.
Additional resources on the vaccine include: