COVID-19 vaccination approval in younger children may be right around the corner

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Children age 12 and up have been able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since May, but a shot for younger kids has not been approved quite yet.

A Pediatrician at Blank Children’s Hospital, Amy Shriver said that it is important that parents are constantly updated on if and when their child can become vaccinated, as more children have been hospitalized for COVID.

“We’re still waiting for the safety and efficacy data to be finally reviewed and approved, but things are looking good. And so we’re very hopeful that this will get approved for kids and that it will be safe and efficacious for kids,” Shriver said.

Federal health regulators said that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is about one-third of the adult dose, appears highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues.

The FDA has not authorized the shot yet. There will be a meeting with a panel of independent advisers Tuesday.

According to the Mayo Clinic with 42.4% of children aged 12-17 fully vaccinated in the state, and 47.8% having one dose, pediatric doctors had seen young Iowans rush to get vaccinated when 12 and older were allowed. If approved, they are expecting the same thing for younger children.

“I saw a lot of people that have said, ‘oh, I was the first in line to get my COVID vaccines,’ and most of my patients feel happier and more confident being in school,” Shriver said. “So yes I did see a lot of my patients come in right away and get their vaccines for 12 and above and so that’s really exciting for us as pediatricians to see the enthusiasm around protection from disease.”

If fully approved, children could begin vaccinations early next month, with the first ones in line being fully vaccinated by late December. 

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