NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids age five to 11. We spoke with two Connecticut physicians Monday about the announcement.
Pfizer released its data on its BioNTech COVID vaccine trials on children age five-11 Monday. It explains about 2,000 children were given a dose smaller than what adults received. The pharmaceutical company says side effects were minimal and there were no heart issues.
Yale Medicine’s Dr. F. Perry Wilson said of the trial, “They got a third of the dose that adults had gotten of the Pfizer vaccine, so a lower dose but still two doses about a month apart, about three weeks apart.”
Researchers then studied the childrens’ antibody responses. They found, even with that lower dose, the response was just as high as older people who were given the higher dose.
“We know that antibody levels correspond quite nicely to protection,” Dr. Wilson explained. “So this is fairly compelling data that these kids will be protected even with this lower dose.”
The results also revealed the vaccine’s safety among younger children.
“The side effects that come with vaccines were very low in these kids, and of those 2,300 kids – I know a lot of people are worried about myocarditis – zero cases of myocarditis which is also really good news,” Dr. Wilson added.
“Nationally, however, there has been a significant uptick in children in the week of Aug. 14,” said Keith Grant, Hartford Healthcare’s senior system director of Infection Prevention. “The data was 1.4 per 100,000, which was a five-time increase to the previous two weeks. So there is definitely an increase nationally for the pediatric population.”
Monday afternoon, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health released a statement on Pfizer’s announcement, saying it is a step in the right direction.
This morning Pfizer announced that a Phase 2/3 trial has shown its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and generates a strong immune response in children ages 5 to 11.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health has been expecting such an announcement for several weeks, and we are closely following the latest developments as they relate to both expanded emergency use authorization for children as well as approval of booster doses.
This data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published. It has been reported that Pfizer plans to submit for an emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration. FDA officials have said that once data is submitted, the agency could authorize a vaccine for young children in a matter of weeks.
Today’s news comes as a step in the right direction as the Connecticut Department of Public Health looks forward to the eventual vaccination of the state’s youngest residents.– CT DPH
The next step: Pfizer will seek emergency use authorization from the FDA within weeks, so this could follow the timeline of vaccinating children in the five-11 age range by Halloween.