Tampa Bay area doctors weigh in on COVID vaccine for kids 6 months to 4 years old

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 18:14:13-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Even younger kids may soon get access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, Pfizer said after a request from the FDA, it started a rolling submission looking to amend the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of its COVID vaccine to include kids six months through four years old.

“In the last couple of months with the rise of the omicron variant, we’ve seen a lot more kids get COVID than at any other time during the pandemic,” said Dr. Juan Dumois, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases physician with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Pfizer’s vaccine is already authorized for kids five and up. It would be the first COVID vaccine available to even younger children.

Pfizer says this application is for authorization of the first two doses of a planned three-dose series in this age group. The company’s CEO says they believe three doses of the vaccine will be needed for kids six months through four years to get high levels of protection against current and potential future variants.

“They also realized that the immune response is different for some reason between children who are 2 to 4 and children who are 6 months to 24 months,” said Dr. Claudia Gaviria, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases specialist with USF Health.

Pfizer says data on a third dose is expected in the coming months. Both Dr. Dumois and Dr. Gaviria weighed in on why the company is submitting data now rather than waiting for the data to come in on a third dose.

“By requesting authorization for two doses now, those kids can start getting their two doses so that by the time that the third dose is approved, they’re already two doses into it, and it’s just less of a delay in getting those kids vaccinated,” said Dr. Dumois.

“We are in the midst of a pandemic that is really, really affecting children, so there has been the push to generate data to provide this protection for children,” said Dr. Gaviria.

FDA advisors have a meeting set on this for this month, while families wait for the next steps for when their kids can roll up their sleeves.

“If I had children that age, I would definitely try to get them to be the first in the line to get the vaccine,” said Dumois. “I think that the benefits of vaccinating young children far outweigh any side effects that they’re going to have and that COVID is always going to be worse than any vaccine for kids that age.”