CLEVELAND — Just days after Pfizer's full FDA approval of its covid vaccine, pediatricians are facing a wave of concern as requests to vaccinate kids under the age of 12 starts to pour in.
“There's been a lot of misinformation coming out about this,” said Dr. Amy Edwards, University Hospitals Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist. “I actually had physicians, pediatricians tell me that because the vaccine was approved for 16 and up, that you could use it off label for somebody under the age of 12 and I was like, that's absolutely not true because the dose is different.”
The FDA, CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics have not approved the vaccine for younger kids. Edwards says that’s because right now, it could be dangerous for their bodies.
“The concern with the vaccine is that it might it might overstimulate their immune system and might cause some very significant reactions,” she said.
The good news is, there are clinical trials ongoing in our area with hundreds of children ages 5 to 11 and 6 months to 5 years olds.
Senders pediatrics in South Euclid has been participating in Pfizer’s clinical trials from the start. The center was the first site in the country to enroll teenagers.
“We ended up enrolling about 8% of the total in the country,” said Dr. Shelly Senders, Founder and CEO of Senders Pediatrics.
Pfizer is now asking for more kids ages 5 to 11 to participate. The goal is to find the appropriate dose for them, but we’re still a little ways from emergency use approval (EUA).
“We're hoping to have an EUA for kids 5 and up, so that'll cover basically school-age children by around Halloween-ish. Then six months to five years would be probably early 2022.”
Edwards say if your child is not vaccinated, the best thing to do to keep them safe is get the vaccine yourself, wearing masks indoors, social distancing and frequently washing your hands significantly reduces their risk as well.