FDA Says Pfizer Vaccine Benefits Outweigh Risks In Kids 5 To 11

covid vaccine kids safe pfizer
(bogdankosanovic via Getty Images)

We are getting even closer to an FDA-approved vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11

Let’s all take a deep, collective breath. On October 22, federal health regulators said that child-sized doses of the Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine look promising in terms of protecting kids from the virus without any unexpected safety issues. While the vaccine is still not approved for younger children, the Food and Drug Administration’s analysis of the most recent Pfizer data suggests that we could get the green light to vaccinate 28 million eligible children in the U.S. as soon as November, meaning kiddos could potentially be fully vaccinated by Christmas. The FDA is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26 to decide whether or not the vaccine is ready for a wide rollout.

The data collected showed that the vaccine is more than 90% effective for kids, a promising number as outbreaks in schools continue to rise

The two-dose shot of the Pfizer vaccine is roughly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection in younger children, according to the FDA review of Pfizer’s data. This percentage was calculated based on the 16 COVID-19 cases in children given a placebo versus the three cases experienced by those who received the full dose of vaccine. The study also notes that the vaccinated kids who experienced symptoms had a much milder case of COVID-19 than the kids that did not receive the vaccine and also contracted the virus. This data was collected in August and September, which also means it took into account the more transmissible Delta variant.

As for side effects of the vaccine in kids? The study reported that the youngsters experienced similar side effects reported by vaccinated adults, including a sore arm, low fever, and some achiness. A small price to pay for immunity in the midst of a pandemic, in our humble opinion. Still, it is important to note that researchers pulled data from a small pool, making it difficult to track potential extremely rare side effects, like myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation experienced by some after the second dose. Again, this is a very rare side effect, and the CDC notes that people who experience this side effect are often completely fine after receiving treatment.

While COVID-19 hasn’t been as fatal for children, having kids vaccinated is another vital step in reaching herd immunity

Nearly 6.2 million kids in the United States have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 1.1 million of those cases occurring in the past six weeks due to the highly contagious Delta variant. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the vaccine approval stays on course and we have our youth vaccinated before the end of the year.