Parents of elementary school students in the Houston area felt welcome relief on Monday when Pfizer announced its vaccine is safe and effective for the 5- to 11-year-old age group.
The findings represent a key step toward inoculating a younger population that so far is unprotected from the virus. Right now, only children 12 and older are eligible for a vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech, the company’s German partner, next will apply for emergency use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as health officials hope to have the shots ready by Halloween.
José García, a local father of two, said Monday he is pleased with the news. Worried that his 7-year-old daughter would catch COVID at school in Humble ISD, he enrolled her in the Pfizer vaccine trial at Texas Children’s Hospital this summer. “It’s good to hear the studies are paying off,” he said. “We are happy to be part of the process to help other people get more trust in the vaccine, so we can start getting back to normal as soon as possible.”
Pfizer summarized the results released Monday from 2,268 trial participants. The findings show that children develop an antibody response similar to the 16- to 25-year-old age group when given one-third of the dosage. The child dosage also showed similar or fewer temporary side effects — such as sore arms, fever or aches — that teens experience, said Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president. He told the Associated Press that the company plans to apply for emergency use by the end of the month.
The study still is ongoing, and there haven’t yet been enough COVID cases to compare rates between the vaccinated and those given a placebo — something that might offer additional evidence. More information on this recent vaccine study can be found in this Houston Chronicle news article.