CLEVELAND – For the first time, Pfizer has shared early data for their much anticipated children’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was studied in kids ages 5 to 11.
Frank Esper, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic Children’s said this pediatric vaccine is a lower dose than what’s given to adults, but appears to be just as effective.
“They actually decreased the dose to about a third of what they’re using for the older age groups. But despite the smaller dose, in the smaller children, the antibody response is as vigorous as what we find in older age groups,” he explained. “So, we’re seeing a robust antibody response meeting that protective threshold.”
Like the adult vaccine, the pediatric vaccination is a two-dose regimen.
The data shows it’s safe and generated a good immune response in more than 2,000 children who participated in the trial.
Side effects were similar to those seen in older age groups and there were no reports of a type of heart inflammation, called myocarditis.
Dr. Esper said the Delta variant has changed the game for kids and COVID-19, and pediatric cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.
For that reason, he encourages families to vaccinate children once eligible.
“The virus has changed and is now able to overcome the early resilience children had before. Children are at risk and we are seeing more children admitted to the hospital for COVID than ever before,” said Dr. Esper. “We are seeing children with severe disease. They are getting into the intensive care unit in the most severe circumstances. That is something that can protect our children against with use of the vaccine.”
Dr. Esper said it’s important to keep in mind that this data is preliminary and still needs to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pfizer plans to submit the study results for Emergency Use Authorization in the weeks ahead.