FDA to meet Tuesday to discuss vaccine authorization in kids 5-11: here’s what parents should know

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The FDA is expected to meet Tuesday to discuss whether Pfizer and Biontech’s COVID-19 vaccine should be authorized for younger children.

We spoke with parents across central Indiana to get their questions about vaccinations and then went to experts for the answers.

“How long did they study the effect of it on the little children?” said Arica Tuff, a parent from Indianapolis.

“About 7 months’ worth of data for ages 5-11 years of age,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Regenstrief Institute.

Both of Tuff’s children would be included in that group.

“I have two 7-year-olds and an 8-year-old,” Tuff said. “So far, they haven’t caught it. They’ve been healthy so should I still take them to get the vaccine?”

Dr. Grannis says yes.

“From that age group, we’ve seen a third of all cases,” Dr. Grannis said. “So they are carrying it and exposing it to others.”

Alisha Hunter, a Westfield parent, was worried about long-term impacts.

“The only concern my husband and I have is that in the future, if my kids want to have kids of their own, should we be worried this vaccine might cause issues for them?” said Hunter.

Thomas Dusynzki, a professor of epidemiology at Fairbanks School of Public Health, says there have been numerous studies done around the issue.

“We’ve seen no long-term effects surrounding fertility or infertility,” Duszynski said.

Rachel — who couldn’t talk on camera — sent us a question asking about other possible side effects like myocarditis, a rare heart condition. 

“Among children 16 to 17, it’s 70 per million,” Dr. Grannis said. “That is a 3.5 times increase in risk of myocarditis.”

Dr. Grannis says myocarditis is incredibly rare and while it has been a reported side effect with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine.

It has not been reported with Johnson and Johnson.

“The vaccine clearly provides more protection against hospitalization at a rate much higher than the background myocarditis,” Dr. Grannis said.

To learn more about the CDC’s recommendations for children, click here.

The state’s website has COVID-19 resources for Hoosiers, just click here.

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