The benefits of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, which is slated to go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval next week, far outweigh its risk to children, said Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s pediatrics division.
He called his press conference Wednesday the most upbeat one in months, saying the delta variant of COVID-19 has receded. But the doctor warned that if another virus variant surfaces, the public should increase preventative measures.
Kimberlin said vaccine data given Tuesday by an external advisory board to the FDA about the safety of vaccines for ages 5 to 11 is “incontrovertible.”
Five hundred children have died from COVID nationwide, and the virus is the eighth leading cause of death.
Vaccinating that age group could protect about 28 million Americans, plus it would protect people who are around children in that age group, he added.
The FDA determines whether a vaccine can be used, and how it would be used is determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kimberlin said he anticipates the vaccine being approved by the FDA next week.
Kimberlin said parents should not worry about whether data from studies on the vaccine have been well evaluated. “This vaccine has been evaluated more thoroughly than any vaccine in history,” Kimberlin said.
He encouraged parents doubtful of the vaccine to consult their pediatricians for advice.
He said that, if the vaccine is approved, the 5- to 11-year-olds would get one third of the dose given to older children and adults.
He encouraged school systems to check data form the ADHP, such as the viral transmission of their county. “It’s an informed way to decide when to take away masks at school.
“We are in a good spot right now, but I don’t know if we will stay,” he added. But he said the possible vaccinations of 5- to 11-year-olds is good news for now.