Grand Strand area doctors await FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11 years olds

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - After months of being one of the last age groups unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer announced Monday that data shows its vaccine is safe and effective for kids aged five to 11 years old.

The company will soon ask the FDA to grant emergency use authorization for children in that age group.

In the meantime, Dr. Lucretia Carter, a pediatrician at Tidelands Health, said this is good news for parents and families.

“All expectations are is that this could be approved in the next couple of weeks,” Carter said.

The vaccine will still be given in two doses, with 21 days between each dose. But children won’t get the same amount as adults and teens.

“The vaccine itself isn’t different, but the dose is different. So what they’ve been able to find is that a lower dose, specifically one-third of the dose has been able to produce a fantastic immune response,” Carter said.

Children 12 and up have been eligible since May, but data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows they’re one of the least vaccinated groups in the state.

Dr. Paul Richardson with Conway Medical Center said he wants to see those numbers start to increase.

“I hope that parents will see this much in line with other childhood immunizations that we’ve given for many many years,” Richardson said.

Carter said she knows there will be some hesitation, but says the benefits far outweigh any potential mild side effects.

“This is our way of allowing our kids to get in school in the safest environment that they can. We’re actually seeing another push of parents saying, ‘OK, I think it’s time to get the vaccine.’ They’re seeing children not getting taken out of school if they’re vaccinated and so there is an increased incentive to vaccinate their children,” she added.

Both Tidelands Health and CMC said they do not have any supply issues and will be ready when the official go-ahead is given.

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