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FDA Advisory Panel meets Tuesday to discuss vaccine approval for kids five and older

Posted at 8:02 AM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 09:02:05-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A FDA Advisory Panel will meet Tuesday to consider the approval of Pfizer's vaccine application for children ages 5-11.

With approval, those kids may be eligible for their first does in just a couple of weeks.

The Biden Administration says they will have enough vaccines ready to roll out for all 28 million children in the age bracket as soon as it is approved.

These kids will need two doses of the vaccine. However, these doses are a third of a regular dose that an adult would receive.

Local health professionals say this is crucial to move the needle in the right direction and will keep children safe while improving their lives.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” UNMC Chair of Pediatrics Kari Simonsen said. “There are lots of families with young kids who are eager to get them vaccinated so they can feel safer going back to their regular activities and events.”

“We’ve seen kids who have had to deal with this pandemic for the last 20 months now are suffering in school, and with mental health, and all of those side effects that have come along with the pandemic,” Children’s Physicians Vice President and Medical Director Melissa St. Germain said. “Getting our kids vaccinated is one way that we can, again, get back to normal.”

If the Pfizer application is approved, the next step will be the CDC’s recommendation.

That recommendation would come after its advisory committee meetings on November 2nd and 3rd.

A recent study in Douglas County showed that 42 percent of parents would either not allow their children 11 and under to get vaccinated or would prefer to wait longer to do so.

Local health professionals say parents have nothing to worry about when it comes to the side effects of the vaccine, and they are willing to talk with parents in more detail about each individual child’s health.

“The safety data looks exactly like it does in the older kids and adults. They're safe,” St. Germain said. “Some kids get a fever, sore arm, a little bit or irritability in that day or two after they get the vaccine, just like they do with lots of other vaccines, but we know these vaccines are over 90 percent effective at keeping kids from getting COVID-19.”

“So that strong track record of a really effective vaccine, we’re just excited to get this moved down to the school-aged kids,” Simonsen said.

Once approved, the vaccine will be available from your local pediatrician, health department, and pharmacy.

As for the children under the age of five, approval will likely not come until 2022.