DENVER, (KDVR) — Nearly 500,000 Colorado 5- to 11-year-olds are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on an emergency use authorization Tuesday night.
Clinics are already underway, with state health officials urging patience with demand expected to exceed initial supply.
But for the Brewer family, that process is already over.
Charley, Ellie and Sydney — 7, 8 and 10 years old, respectively — all received their vaccine over the summer during a large trial held at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“The worst thing is that it hurts,” Ellie said. “And the best thing is it keeps you safe.”
Their parents, Rachel and JP Brewer, are both doctors and said the decision to enter the trial made sense.
“Immediately, I think we sort of said, yeah, this is an opportunity to participate, and to help most importantly, and to be on the front of making sure everybody’s safe,” JP said.
In total, 252 Colorado 5- to 11-year-olds participated in the trial, with 168 receiving the vaccine and 84 receiving a placebo.
No major complications have been reported, with the vaccine proving to be more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic illness.
“It’s truly very safe,” said Dr. Eric Simoes. “I truly believe that protecting young children will protect not only the children but their families and loved ones.”
Simoes orchestrated the trial at Children’s Hospital and said while hospitalizations among children are rare, they do happen.
Since the start of the pandemic, he said more than 2,000 children have been hospitalized with the virus. But he says the bigger issue is protecting older Coloradans, something that can be done by vaccinating the youngest.
“In the previous strain, someone would get infected in the family, and it wouldn’t spread very much. With this strain, children are getting infected and spreading it to the family,” he said. “So the virus has evolved to spread in children. If you vaccinate school children, you protect older adults.”
You can find more information on where to sign up for a pediatric vaccine here.