BILLINGS — A Montana pediatrician says she is excited thatthe COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available for children ages 5 through 11.
“It looks very promising. They’re going to do the FDA review and then the ACIP, which is sort of the advisory panel for the CDC, is going to meet so we still have probably a couple more weeks. But it’s still much closer than we’ve been in a long time, which is exciting,” said Dr. Kathryn Lysenger, a pediatrician at Billings Clinic.
An FDA panel met Tuesday and unanimously voted to recommend the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 5, clearing the way for full FDA approval later this week.
The CDC is expected to meet next week to determine whether the vaccine will be granted full approval for the 5 through 11 age group. If approved, doses could be available as early as next week or the second week of November.
“We absolutely will recommend it to everybody. We have not implemented doing it in clinic because we have to wait for full approval, but we do plan on doing that once we have full approval,” said Lysenger.
The vaccine will be the same two-shot Pfizer vaccine that many adults and older children have received, but the doses will be a third the size of what adults receive.
“This is purely based on how their immune system responds, and the younger kids have very robust responses and so they’re able to do a third of the dose. It's super exciting that they do a smaller dose and still have what looks to be the equivalent effect,” Lysenger said.
Kids ages 5-11 account for about 9% of reported COVID-19 cases in the United States. Lysenger hopes the vaccine will make schools safer as the fight against the pandemic continues.
Watch Lysenter's full interview below: