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Health experts: Kids under the age of 5 should get COVID-19 vaccine when it's authorized

Virus Outbreak Kid Booster
Posted at 7:21 AM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 07:49:59-04

TAMPA, Fla.  — “This is really great news. Parents have been waiting for this for a long time,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor for the USF College of Public Health.

On Monday, Pfizer announced it’s submitting its data on a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years to the FDA for emergency use authorization.

“They’re going to look at both Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine data as well for the same age group,” said Roberts.

The dose for this age group is 1/10th of the adult dose. If authorized, children would get three child-size doses.

RELATED: Pfizer: 3 COVID-19 shots protect children under 5

The initial two shots would be given three weeks apart. The third shot would be given two months after the second one.

According to Pfizer, it’s about 80% effective against symptomatic COVID-19.

“That really changes things with COVID I think,” said Roberts.

If this gets authorized in the next few weeks, it would give younger children the opportunity to get the shots before school starts.

“The 5-year-olds, in particular, are going to start entering kindergarten and pre-school for the 4-5-year-olds. That's a lot of kids going back to school,” said Roberts.

Experts say it can be tempting to assume kids in this age group shouldn’t get vaccinated because they usually don’t get severe COVID-19.

“We kind of saw with omicron and some of the other variants that that really wasn’t true. There actually were kids who were seriously, seriously ill with COVID. We’re talking about possibilities of long term COVID with younger kids,” said Roberts.

Doctors say getting these younger children vaccinated will have a big impact on the virus on a community scale.

“Those kids have tons of contact with other individuals. So if they’re transmitting COVID to their caregivers, to their teachers, to their friends, to whoever they’re really in contact with, that’s maintaining spread throughout the community,” said Roberts.

The FDA meeting is scheduled for June 15. The CDC ADIC meeting is expected to be scheduled for a few days after that.

“One thing that’s really, really great about that is once they’ve gotten to that stage of doing those types of meetings it generally goes pretty quick. So I would expect to see an FDA meeting early in the week and an ACIP CDC meeting later in the week and hopefully, by mid-June, we will hopefully actually finally have this under 5-year-old vaccine available," said Roberts.