KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Any day now, it’s expected that the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 will get its FDA approval. This comes after the FDA’s advisory panel voted in favor of authorizing the vaccine. While some parents are still debating what’s best for their child, others are looking forward to their children having an added layer of protection.
Especially parents like Sara Martin, who made special arrangements for her 7-year-old’s education while she and her husband wait for a federally approved vaccine for children.
“It’s a big relief for us,” the Knox County mom said. “We were so glad when we were able to get vaccinated, but we’ve just never quite been able to relax because we know that if we let our guard down at all we could bring germs home to the kids and then they don’t have that defense of the vaccine.
“All that quarantining and chasing down tests and all that stuff was actually we thought harder than like taking her education into our own hands so we actually started homeschooling.”
Doctors say even though COVID-19 is not a severe threat to children in the 5-to-11 age group, there is a chance the virus can still have lasting effects on those who do contract it.
“There are complications kids get even if they have a mild case of COVID.” said Dr. Joseph Childs with the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. “We’ve talked about MIS-C in the past, and you may have heard conversation about long-COVID which is prolonged symptoms related to having COVID. That also does occur in kids, it’s not overwhelmingly frequent, but it is there. So the vaccination would do a very good job to prevent that.”
Still, it’s a conversation parents should have with their child’s pediatrician to determine what’s best for them, something Sara and her husband have already done.
“My pediatrician had this great quote when we had our first child,” Martin said. “She said in her decades of taking care of children, she had never treated a child for a side effect of a vaccine, but had treated severely ill children who had side effects and symptoms from preventable diseases. And we really trusted that advice.”
Childs says the children’s vaccine will be very similar to the adult version except the kids dose is only a third of the adult dose. There will still be two doses about 3 weeks apart. Parents can expect their children to experience similar side effects, such as a sore arm, fatigue and fever.