FDA to discuss Pfizer COVID vaccine dose for children 5 to 11; Riley Hospital doctor weighs in


The FDA is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss granting Pfizer emergency use authorization of its COVID vaccine dose for children ages five to 11. 

If approved, the shots could start going out as soon as early next month.  

Children will still need two shots to be fully protected like the one for adults, but the amount given will be a third of an adult dose. 

Pfizer says the efficacy of the children’s dose is more than 90 percent effective against symptomatic disease. Tuesday they will make a presentation about it to the FDA Advisory Committee. The committee will then review the studies and data submitted by the pharmaceutical company. 

“Well, the intent of the vaccines has always been to prevent hospitalization and death, especially in the high-risk individuals, right? The other goal of vaccination is to prevent transmission among people, right? So, the more people are protected with the vaccines, the more likely is that they’re going to survive or prevent their admission to the hospital,” said Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Dr. John Christenson. 

Doctor Christenson says while children are at less risk of getting severely sick, they have been known to spread the virus so this vaccine could help reduce the transmission.  

“I would encourage parents is do not wait for their loved one to get sick, ok? Or let grandma or grandpa get sick, ok? Because it may be too late for them, ok?” said Dr. Christenson. 

“So, by preventing infection in these children by getting them vaccinated, we’ll prevent the spread of delta and other variants throughout the community. And specifically, you’ll start protecting the high-risk individuals. Adults, older adolescents, people with cancer, people with other conditions that increase their risk of hospitalization and death.” 

Dr. Christenson says it’s also important for people to be mindful that it’s flu season and they can get their flu and COVID vaccines at the same time. 

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