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Pfizer COVID vaccines for children 5-11: Here’s what you need to know

Pfizer reports COVID vaccine 95% effective in younger children, small dose

ORLANDO, Fla. – Pfizer released information regarding the results of its COVID-19 vaccine trials, showing the vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11. As the company prepares to submit a request for emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration, Central Florida health officials are already planning for a mass distribution of the vaccine to younger children.

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Here’s what you need to know:

How effective is the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11?

According to Pfizer, the vaccine proved to be 95% effective on children ages 5 to 11 during its trial. Nearly 2,300 kids participated in the trial, two-thirds receiving the vaccine, while the others received a saltwater shot.

Will the younger children need two doses?

Pfizer’s data shows children ages 5 to 11 will still need two doses, about a month apart. However, this age group only receives one-third of the normal dose that adults get to receive similar protection from the virus.

News 6 spoke with Accel Research Medical Director Dr. Bruce Rankin about the process. Accel was not involved in the latest trial but did participate in the 16 and up trials with the Pfizer vaccine.

“We do what’s called ‘bridging studies’ because we already know the vaccine’s effective and safe in those adult populations, so we have to make some modifications to look at certain groups, like children,” said Rankin. “Children’s immune systems are much stronger than we are when we’re adults. They also don’t have as much weight, so with all those things taken into consideration, we usually see lower doses.”

What side-effects have been reported from the trial with 5 to 11 year-olds?

According to a press release from Pfizer Monday, “the COVID-19 vaccine was well tolerated, with side effects generally comparable to those observed in participants 16 to 25 years of age.”

The common side-effects reported include sore arm, mild fever and body aches, according to Pfizer.

Is Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children ages 5 to 11?

Not at this time. Pfizer is working to submit a request for emergency use authorization to the FDA for kids ages 5 to 11. The company expects to submit the request by the end of September. Health officials tell News 6 it could take weeks for the FDA to review the data and make a determination on the request.

Is Seminole County prepared?

“We’ve been planning this for a while, we knew it was going to happen, we have a plan on the books ready to go,” Seminole County Emergency manager Alan Harris said.

Where will the vaccine be offered in Seminole County?

“We’ll be in middle schools, high schools and we’ll be in private schools,” Harris said.

Will staff be trained and ready?

“As far as the operation we have been doing this since December, the nurses know their jobs, the teams know how to register people and get people through,” Harris said.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.


About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.