DENVER (KDVR) — Children as young as 5 could soon be in line to receive a kid-size dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after a panel of U.S. health advisers endorsed the shot Tuesday.
The Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted to recommend the vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11. The FDA must formally authorize the doses before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends them.
Many parents are eager to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible. Tanya Perez got her 13-year-old vaccinated when the shots were approved for people 12 and older. She’s hopeful her 11-year-old will soon have that chance.
“If they feel this is ready — the doctors, the FDA — if they feel this is safe, why should I doubt them? They’re there for a reason. They’re in that position for a reason,” Perez said.
Other parents are concerned about potential side effects. Dr. Reginald Washington, chief medical officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, said the risk of long-term side effects is low.
“A child has a higher chance of getting a complication from COVID with the inflammatory response we see in some kids than getting a reaction from the vaccine,” Washington said.
People 19 and younger currently make up 23.32% of COVID cases in Colorado, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Kids account for less than 1% of deaths among cases in the state, but Washington said there is always some risk.
“Yes, it is true that your child is less likely to get sick with COVID than adults are. However, there’s a certain number of kids who get very sick, come into the hospital, and a few pass away,” Washington said.
What children in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial experienced
Whitney Todaro’s children were part of a Pfizer vaccine trial through Children’s Hospital Colorado. She said her kids, ages 8 and 10, had mild side effects after their shot, indicating they received the vaccine and not a placebo.
“Kids don’t have a lot of control — none of us really do during these times — and that was one thing that they felt like they could do to help end the pandemic and get back to normal life,” Todaro said.
Todaro said her kids experienced arm pain and slightly elevated temperatures after their doses but have not reported any long-lasting side effects. She said knowing her children are vaccinated provides peace of mind while they’re in school or around high-risk individuals.
“I understand why people might be less eager than they were to do it for themselves, but I think if we look at the community as a whole and if we want to get past this pandemic, it’s a step that has to be done,” Todaro said.