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Parents, medical community anxious for COVID-19 vaccine approval for children

Pfizer Vaccine
Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 19:05:15-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Lesley Abravanel said she hopes the waiting to get her 10-year-old twins vaccinated will not be much longer.

"It feels like forever because they told us a while ago it might happen by Halloween," Abravanel said.

And it may not, as Pfizer is asking for FDA approval for its COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11.

"This is the game-changer, the gateway to having playdates, for the parents not to be panicked when they’re in school worried that some kid will cough on them at lunch," said Dr. Christina Johns, a senior medical advisor for PM Pediatrics. I think the pediatrics community is thrilled. We cannot wait to have this segment of the population protected."

Johns said she is anxious to see all the data on the Pfizer trials among children. So far indications are the lower dose than that for adults seems to show it's effective.

"I think right now we need to stick with what we know and lean into the science," Johns said.

For some that is not as easy as it sounds. But in Boca Raton, Abravanel is ready.

"As much as I want them to have it yesterday, I’ll wait until it's officially approved," Abravanel said.

The FDA will consider Pfizer's request later this month, and if they and the CDC approve, it's possible children could get the vaccine by Thanksgiving.

Overseas, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark are limiting Moderna's vaccine in young males over side effects.

"We assume it's dose-related, but at this time we don’t know for sure," said Dr. Marcos Mestre, the chief medical officer at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami.

Mestre said cases of myocarditis are a concern.

"What we’re seeing especially as it relates to the Moderna vaccine, it does use a higher dose, 100 micrograms as opposed to 30 micrograms with Pfizer, which may play a part. We still haven’t put our finger exactly on why the individuals were getting myocarditis," Mestre said.

Medical experts said lowering doses for younger men and boys may help ease the side effects.

"That is a key piece of information that I think a lot of people lack when they see these stories in the media. Oh my word, there were young men and boys getting myocarditis rarely and a mild form. I’ll note after the vaccine that risk is lower than what the similar age groups may get from being infected with COVID-19 itself," Johns said.

Doctors said the myocarditis they see from the vaccine shot is usually a mild case and is quickly treatable with no apparent long-lasting effects.