ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The FDA is meeting later this month to consider allowing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as six months old.
A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found only 3 out of 10 parents plan to give the vaccine to children that young.
Pfizer is asking the FDA to authorize its extra-low dose for children ages 6 months through 4 years.
Dr. Bruce Rankin with Accel Research Sites this age group will play a key role in bringing an end to the pandemic.
“I think it will be a gamechanger,” Rankin said.
Rankin lead COVID-19 vaccine studies at the DeLand facility. Although his research didn’t include children under 5, the practicing physician knows how vital getting shots into these younger arms will be.
“That’s the groups that we know can transmit this virus very readily and we’re seeing a big increase in the number of children in those age groups, infants and children, who have got the coronavirus, especially the omicron variant,” Rankin said.
According to the latest COVID report from the Florida Department of Health, children under 5 make up 3% of the state’s cumulative cases since March 2020.
Data from Health and Human Services shows there are currently 190 pediatric hospitalizations across the state.
Dr. Rankin said he understands parents may have concerns about the vaccine, especially since children have gone this long without the shot and they don’t have as much severe illness.
But he’s encouraging parents to get their young children vaccinated once approved, not only to protect themselves but others.
“Other classmates, teachers, and parents and family. Lot of those children are exposed to grandparents, which are still at risk, so just so we can lower the amount of virus in our community,” he said.
Rankin said parents who have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, then they should talk to their child’s pediatrician.
The FDA is set to review the data on Feb. 15 and then it would go to the CDC for review.
The vaccine could be approved as early as March.