Lexington pediatrician excited for vaccine approval for children ages 5 to 11

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 17:25:48-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As COVID-19 cases surge in Kentucky and across the country, more children could soon be vaccinated against the virus. Monday morning, drug company Pfizer said trial results show its shot is safe and effective for kids ages five to 11.

Dr. Beth Hawse, a pediatrician at Commonwealth Pediatrics, welcomed this news.

“To protect those five to 11-year-olds is so important because they are the ones in school,” she told LEX 18. “It really tells me we're going to keep them in school through the winter if we can get them vaccinated.”

According to Pfizer, kids in their trial received two smaller doses, measuring about one-third of what adults were given. They still developed coronavirus-fighting antibodies on a level equal to teens and young adults.

Dr. Hawse said she’s not surprised, as babies and children typically respond better to vaccines, with fewer side effects like fever and aches.

“I'm so, so excited it took only a third of the dose to give these guys good protection,” she said. “And that's another reason people should feel reassured about this vaccine, because not only did they make sure it was safe and effective, but they went down to the lowest possible dose that they could get an adequate immune response.”

Dr. Hawse encourages families to speak to their pediatricians if they have any questions or concerns, so they can be ready if the FDA approves the shot for younger children soon.

This news comes as Kentucky is a current national coronavirus hotspot. School-age kids are getting sick at a higher rate than other age groups, and the statewide vaccination rate for kids ages 12 to 17 is the lowest of all age groups, at 46%. Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine currently approved for kids as young as 12.

You can find more information about the COVID vaccine for kids here.