In Focus: COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids 5-11 progressing

Posted at 5:43 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 18:17:40-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — With the release of its trial results, Pfizer marked a key step in getting the vaccine authorized for younger school aged children.

Monday, Pfizer said the safety and efficacy of a lower dose of the vaccine in kids 5-11 is consistent with the findings from adults, paving the way for an Emergency Use Authorization.

It was news Baltimore City mom Deni Miller and her kids were hoping for.

"It would give everyone peace of mind," said Miller. "I read them the news and it was like Christmas."

With positive cases already popping up at their school, 4th grader Mackinley Morrone and 2nd grader Teddy Morrone are ready.

"I can't wait to kind of help to end this coronavirus pandemic," said Mackinley.

Pfizer plans to submit to the FDA for EUA soon and doctors expect authorization by Halloween.

It comes as pediatric COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said the first week of September saw the second highest weekly total for pediatric cases.

"We have seen an uptick in children admitted to the hospital suffering from COVID-19," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos.

Johns Hopkins lung doctor Panagis Galiatsatos said he hopes when the time comes to get the shot, parents who are hesitant will reach out to their doctors with questions.

One concern he’s already heard is how small the trials were with 2,200 participants, but Galiatsatos said it’s in line with other age groups.

"This number is not small. It’s small when you look at the big picture of how many people were recruited for Pfizer but then when you start breaking it up by decades, no this is on par with how many 50-60 year olds were recruited for Pfizer," said Galiatsatos.

Like with the adult vaccine trials, there’s also some concerns about how fast the trials happened, but the principal investigator for the Moderna trial at University of Maryland School of Medicine said no corners were cut.

"We’re going through the exact same process with these vaccines that we’ve gone through with every other vaccine I’ve studied and I’ve studied most of the vaccines that children now get... so the same process of checking all the ages, the right doses, safety follow up," said Dr. James Campbell. "I’m a pediatrician. I’m a parent. I want for all these vaccines to be safe and effective."

They are administering second doses this week with data expected in a month. He encourages parents to do the research and not compare COVID in kids to COVID in adults, but rather COVID in kids versus other diseases in children.

"COVID in children compared to flu, it’s worse. Compared to RSV, it’s worse. Name a disease that we vaccinate against or would love to be able to vaccinate against, COVID is worse," said Campbell.

Pfizer said results from two other ongoing trials for children under 5 are expected as soon as later this year.