Kids’ COVID vaccine one step closer to reality (includes video story)

Twenty-eight million children between five and 11 years old may be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as the coming week.

Tomorrow, an FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet to discuss whether to recommend authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for kids.

“It’s going to protect them,” said Dr. Ashish Jha. “Obviously, it’s also going to add population immunity to our broader population, will help bring infection numbers down. It is going to be one more important step towards getting to the end of this pandemic.”

Kids make up about a quarter of all COVID cases in the United States. Nationwide data show that COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all declining. Health experts are recommending the vaccine.

“If we add children to that mix we can get our numbers way higher up and hopefully prevent any more variants from coming,” said Dr. Jennifer Shu.

But Pfizer officials will have to convince more than just FDA vaccine advisers.

Ultimately, it’s up to the parents to allow their kids to get the vaccine. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in September found about a third of parents in that age range say they would take a wait-and-see approach. Another third of parents say they’d let their kids get the vaccine right away.

“Talk to your pediatrician if you have questions,” said author and former Biden COVID advisor Andy Slavitt. “But we know that six million kids have had Covid, over a million in the last six weeks. They can get it, they can spread it.”

If the FDA and the CDC authorize the vaccine, then kids could potentially be fully vaccinated by the winter holidays.

Helen Acevedo is an FIU student majoring in broadcast media with a minor in political science and international relations. She is passionate about giving people a platform to tell their truths.