COVID Vaccine for Young Children


Mariah Holston, Staff Writer

The new variants of coronavirus, specifically the Delta variant, are affecting young children. Vaccines that were originally available to only people 16 years of age and older are now available to younger children. The New York Times states, “The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11, a move eagerly anticipated by millions of families looking to protect some of the only remaining Americans left out of the vaccination campaign.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, plans to give the final approval for children ages 5-11 to receive one-third of the adult injections. The children will be able to receive their second dose three weeks after their first. The New York Times also explains, “The Biden administration has promised that children’s shots will be easily accessible at pediatrician offices, community health centers, children’s hospitals, and pharmacies, with 15 million doses ready to ship immediately. States started ordering doses last week, under a formula based on how many children they have in the age group. While the school year is already well underway, the pediatric dose is arriving in time for the holidays, giving more comfort to families looking to gather older and younger people together for the first time since the early months of 2020.”

It is said that about 28 million children within that age group will now be eligible to receive the vaccine. Researchers say the Delta variant is highly contagious and affects younger children more than any other variant. According to the CDC, “In a clinical trial, the vaccine was shown to generate significant protection in children against the virus. But whether it will help substantially to curb the pandemic is unclear. As of this week, 8,300 children ages 5 to 11 have been hospitalized with Covid-19 and at least 94 have died, out of more than 3.2 million hospitalizations and 740,000 deaths overall.”

Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, the president of Meharry Medical College, states, “School nurses, churches and local health officials would be key in reaching some children and families who might not have insurance or access to pediatricians. The vaccinations are free to everyone.” CNN states, “Pfizer says data from the clinical trial shows the vaccine provides more than 90% protection against symptomatic disease among children of this age group.” Many children only experience mild cases of the virus; however, Dr. Jane Woodcock, the US Food and Drug Administration commissioner, stresses the importance of the Covid-19 increase in children. Dr. Woodcock explains, “More than 1.9 million children 5 to 11-years-old have gotten sick and more than 8,300 of them have been hospitalized through September of this year. Half of those children who were hospitalized did not have underlying health conditions.” Many doctors believe that vaccines are the best way to try to get rid of the virus. Making vaccines accessible to younger children is predicted to decrease the amount of Covid cases.