GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Pfizer pediatric vaccine is becoming a reality. On Tuesday the CDC recommended the lower dose for kids ages 5–11 years old.
Gretchen Cherry is a mother who’s excited about it.
“I am glad that it’s finally approved,” Cherry said during a Zoom interview on Wednesday. “We’ve been waiting and waiting on this for my son and we’re really excited that he’s finally going to be able to get it, as is he.”
They’re glad because her preteen son has battled cancer and beat it twice.
“Both times on and off for about six months, and it really affects you as a parent to take care of your child like that to see them go through all that,” Cherry said. “So, many needle pokes and so many scans. He has some continuing health problems because of it.”
Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital said they too were excited about the vaccine. Dr. Rosemary Olivero said during a press conference that Pfizer studied three different doses, specifically looking at safety and efficacy. The lower dose worked best and was the one authorized by the FDA.
“With that one-third dose — the 10 microgram dose — we had a very good vaccine efficacy, over 90% effective in all COVID-19 infections in the children who were in this study, and really there were no serious safety adverse events,” said Dr. Olivero, pediatric infectious disease physician at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “Even the common vaccine effects that we would see from any vaccine that were received, including local injection site pain or redness, sore muscles, fevers, all of those side effects were actually minimal in that one-third dosing group.”
READ MORE: Michigan health agency, doctors urge COVID vaccine for kids
Dr. Olivero added that during the studies and trials there were no cases of myocarditis, heart inflammation, or pericarditis, the swelling of the membrane around the heart. She recommended kids get the vaccine, whether or not they have underlying health conditions.
“So, at this time, we have received the full allotment that was available through the first wave of ordering through the MDHHS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and that number is 300 doses,” said Brian Brasser, chief operation officer at Spectrum Health. “So, we have received those. We have not yet begun distributing them, and we will be finalizing our plan for that as the week progresses.”
The CDC stated on its website that the vaccine could help 28,000,000 kids nationwide, within the 5–11 age group.
Dr. Olivero emphasized that the vaccine was “incredibly important" and the risk of hospitalization was low.
"I’ve been there. I’ve seen my kid in the hospital. I don’t want to ever see him in there again,” Cherry said. “That’s one reason I’m so excited for him to get this.”
READ MORE: Vaccines for children 5–11: Where to get the shots, when local school mask mandates expire and more