Local parents react to Pfizer looking to expand vaccine authorization to children ages 5-11

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 22:28:19-04

Pfizer is now looking to seek COVID-19 vaccine authorization for a new age group.

As of right now, children ages 12 and up can get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine but soon enough, if authorized, that could expand to younger children ages 5 to 11.

According to Pfizer, data shows the vaccine is safe and effective for the younger population.

"I'm optimistic about it. I think as long as the science is clear and the appropriate authorities are taking a look at it, I like the idea,” said parent Gregory Gillett.

Other parents aren't convinced and say they'd prefer to wait.

"I am fortunate that my son is only three so it gives me time to think about when he is five, but if he was five now, I would still be in the same predicament. I want to wait,” said parent Zach Smith.

In a statement, Pfizer's chairman said, “Over the past nine months, hundreds of millions of people ages 12 and older from around the world have received our COVID-19 vaccine. We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization.”

Local pediatrician Dr. Rene Bravo says he believes it is a good move.

"Prior to this, the only protection that we've had for children is getting adults vaccinated and there are some children, especially in the 5-11 age group, who are at risk for complications or diseases that would pre-dispose them to adverse outcomes,” Dr. Bravo said.

He adds that he and other pediatricians across the state have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among children. He says, although the risk of severe illness or death is lower in children compared to adults, getting them vaccinated is the right move.

"We are still waiting for the next reviewable data and the process to when this is finally released but in the meantime, people should just continue the precautions that we are using and just be patient out there. Just be patient. We are going to get through this,” Dr. Bravo said.

“Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination. These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Pfizer says it aims to apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for emergency use in this new age group.