KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Children ages five to eleven could soon be eligible to get a smaller dosage of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Officials with the company said they will seek authorization soon.
Doctor Joe Childs, the Chief Medical Officer with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, said he thinks the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group would be beneficial, despite most of the patients being admitted to his hospital being above this age.
“We certainly think that there’s a number of kids out there that would benefit from this vaccine,” said Doctor Childs.
He also said at the end of the day, it’s going to be up to the parents. “It’s going to have to be an individual decision for families,” he said. “Partner with their primary care providers to talk about their child’s health and how that meshes with the vaccine decision.”
Doctor Childs said this week’s numbers so far are lower than they have been over the past couple of weeks. While he couldn’t give exacts, he said the virus is finding fewer and fewer people who are vulnerable to it. He explained that the only way to defeat the virus is by more people getting vaccinated.
“Everybody has a date with this virus and you’re going to meet this virus as either a vaccinated person or an unvaccinated person,” said Childs. “I think for a lot of pediatric patients the vaccine is going to be a very good choice.”
The Owner of God’s Creative Enrichment Center in East Knoxville agreed with Childs.
“We’re excited about them doing that, that is huge because now you have more kids who have been infected by COVID than ever before,” said Beverly Holland with the daycare center.
Holland also said she knows not everyone is finding the news as exciting as she did. “If parents have not been vaccinated, then are the children going to be vaccinated,” she questioned. “Then we’re back to square one.”
Throughout the pandemic, Holland has kept up with health screenings at the door. “We do the temperature check, we do the first check, we do body check, everything is done outside.” She said that eliminates the chance the virus can be brought inside. She also said she has been asking the families of her students to be transparent with their travels, asking them to either quarantine or show a negative test before returning.
She said if Pfizer’s vaccine is approved for the five to eleven-year-old age group, she can’t mandate it but can strongly encourage it.