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Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Approved For 5-11 Year Olds

Pfizer-BioNTech+COVID-19+Vaccine+Approved+For+5-11+Year+Olds

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has recently been approved for children ages 5-11. It was tested on over 3,000 children within this age range, including 1,538 placebo vaccines. The vaccine was shown to have similar immune responses in this age group as in the 16 to 25 year old age group. Since no serious side effects were observed; the vaccine was given to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval. As of October 29th of 2021, it “has met the safety and efficacy standards for authorization” for children ages 5 through 11 (“Covid-19 Vaccination for Children 5-11 Years Old.”). Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA approved the vaccine for emergency use.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will be administered in two 10 microgram doses three weeks apart. For ages 12 and up, the dosage had been 30 micrograms, so these children’s doses are a third of the amount given to the older population. If a child is 11 at the time of receiving their first dose, but then 12 at the time of the second, they will then be given the 30 microgram dose. Vaccine doses are regulated based on age at the time of administration, not by weight or any other factor. 

Children, ages 5 to 11, in the U.S. make up “39% of [COVID-19] cases in individuals younger than 18 years of age” (“FDA Authorizes Pfizer-Biontech … .”). 1.9 million children ages 5-11 have been infected with the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. 8,300 of these cases have resulted in hospitalization, and within those, 146 deaths. Thirty percent of children who were hospitalized because of this coronavirus had no underlying health conditions to elevate their risk. Many doctors and health officials encourage the vaccine for children even though its symptoms can be more mild for the younger population. COVID-19 is unpredictable. Overall, 17,691 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. for people under 18 years of age as of October of 2021. In total, the United States has suffered from 46,405,253 cases and 752,196 deaths as of November 8, 2021.

The FDA conducted another experiment to test the effectiveness of the vaccine. A preliminary analysis was conducted seven days after the second dose was provided. The subjects were not believed to have been infected prior to the vaccine. So far, only 3 vaccinated 5-11 year olds have developed COVID-19 with symptoms compared to the 16 children in this group who were given placebos. The vaccine was nearly 91 percent (90.7 percent exactly) effective in this age group based on this study. However, the sample size was small enough to not show the rare and infrequent side effects, such as heart inflammation. That being said, they are rare and infrequent side effects. In all 4,700 subjects monitored, no severe side effects were observed, thus the FDA concluded that there are no “safety or efficacy concerns” (“FDA Authorizes Pfizer-Biontech… .”). 

While the vaccine is not an end-all-be-all to getting COVID-19, it has been shown to help your immune system detect the virus and fight against it because it has already had the chance to build up antibodies. Upon receiving the vaccine, data shows that you are 5 times less likely to get COVID-19, over 10 times less likely to be hospitalized, and over 10 times less likely to die because of the virus (Scobie, Heather M., et al.). 

Further reading and frequently updated statistics concerning COVID-19 can be viewed below.

 

Citations:

Aubrey, Allison, and Selena Simmons-Duffin. “Some Parents Want to Wait to Vaccinate Their Kids. Here’s Why Doctors Say Do It Now.” NPR, NPR, 3 Nov. 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/11/03/1051299050/covid-vaccine-kids-5-1. 

“CDC Covid Data Tracker.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home

“Covid-19 Vaccination for Children 5-11 Years Old.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Nov. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/planning/children.html

“FDA Authorizes Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use in Children 5 through 11 Years of Age.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 29 Oct. 2021, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age

Jenco, Melissa. “Covid-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 Receives Final Approval.” American Academy of Pediatrics, 2 Nov. 2021, https://www.aappublications.org/news/2021/11/02/cdc-pfizer-covid-vaccine-children-110221

Scobie, Heather M., et al. “Monitoring Incidence of COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths, by Vaccination Status – 13 U.S. Jurisdictions, April 4–July 17, 2021.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Sept. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7037e1.htm.

About the Contributor
Tessa Macklin, Editor
Tessa is a senior this year and is an enthusiastic member of the band program at Sentinel. She plays the flute, and she also enjoys reading books for fun throughout the year.