LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee voted to back Pfizer's vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11.
The vaccine could be available for some 28 million children by next week.
Dr. Bian Labus, an infectious disease specialist with UNLV tells 13 Action News the decision is a game-changer, especially because these kids are in school.
“Kids can get covid. Kids can spread covid to other people and even though hospitalizations and deaths aren’t common, they can happen in kids,” Labus said.
FDA officials said the need for vaccinations in children is clear. Across the country, 5 to 11-year-olds have the most cases per capita of any age range.
“The highest rate of disease that we’re seeing is still in the 25 to 49 year age group but right behind that our kids in the 5 to 17-year-old age group,” Labus said.
Despite studies continuing to support the consensus that vaccines are safe and effective, there are mixed reviews among parents about whether kids should be vaccinated.
“They get vaccinated for everything else so why not this,” said Garry Chaney.
“If it’s not gonna be safe for their child or for any pre-existing medical condition, they’re not going to allow their child to have it,” said Tina Rech.
Pfizer says its vaccine is 90% effective in children. The vaccine would be 2 shots, but only one-third of the dose administered to adults.
“The difference between the adult and the kid dose is that they just give less of a vaccine to kids basically. The purpose of that is to try and minimize the potential for side effects while maximizing the effect of that vaccine,” Labus said.
After FDA authorization, the vaccine would have to receive approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before children roll up their sleeves.
“If everything goes kind of as expected, by the end of next week we would have an approval for this vaccine and it could start to be ruled out around the country,” Labus said.