Tri-State doctors discuss Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine approval for children ages 5-11

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Federal health officials gave final approval to use the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old on Tuesday.

[READ MORE: US gives final clearance to COVID-19 shots for kids 5 to 11]

Tri-State doctors say this decision now gives about 28 million children in that age group access to the vaccine.

“Well, this is a great breakthrough with the coming out of the 5-11 vaccine,” Dr. David Schultz, a family practice physician said.

After the final approval given by federal health officials, Dr. Schultz says this decision is huge for many reasons.

“That’s because there are about 28 million children that will actually qualify for this Pfizer vaccine,” Dr. Schultz said.

Dr. Schultz says the 5-11 vaccines should be arriving in the Tri-State area as early as the end of this week.

However, your child may not be able to get the shot right away from their family doctor.

“Since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, the offices, such as family medicine offices, pediatric offices, and so forth have not provided immunizations from the offices,” Dr. Schultz said. “And that’s because when the government set up the vaccine program, it was set up through the hospital systems as well as local health departments and so forth. Hopefully, very soon the offices will also be able to give that vaccine, but I’m not anticipating that being for another couple of months.”

Dr. Schhultz says the 5-11 vaccine is about one-third of the strength of the adult dose, yet 91% effective in the pediatric population.

“Another difference would be the ability to keep it outside of the packaging,” Dr. Schultz said. “It’s able to be outside of the ultra-cold refrigeration for much longer periods of time and that’s an important benefit because that means it can be distributed to more offices more widely.”

So if and when your child does get vaccinated, what should you look out for?

“Basic side effects would include local sight irritation,” Dr. Schultz said. “Where they give the vaccine, there’s a little redness and swelling. That’s going to be the first and main side effect.”

This also includes possible tiredness, aches or fatigue.

Dr. Schultz says some critics have shown concerns for inflammation of the heart muscle, which few cases have popped up around the world.

And for parents still on edge wondering if they should give their child a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Schultz responds.

“There are several reasons to give it,” Dr. Schultz said. “First of all, the number of side effects and adverse effects are very few, especially when compared to other vaccines that have already been administered. This gives us an opportunity to reduce this spread, drastically.”

The Vanderburgh County Health Department says health officials are not quite ready to talk about their pediatric vaccine plan, but confirmed Tuesday they do currently have a shipment of the 5-11 vaccines.

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