Le Bonheur infection prevention director talks Pfizer vaccine use for children
JACKSON, Tenn. — On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, allowing children as young as 12-years-old to begin receiving the vaccine.
Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Dr. Nick Hysmith says this rapid process moved quickly for many reasons.
“We’ve seen COVID-19 move into these younger populations as we’ve vaccinated the older populations, and I think its going to be huge when we look to start school back in the fall and look to take some of these mandates for mask away,” Hysmith said.
He says parents who choose to let their children get the vaccine may have concerns over safety. He says a clinical trial involving 12 to-15-year-olds showed the vaccine is effective enough and well tolerated.
“So what was great about Pfizer is they have a little bit of a head start on Moderna vaccine and Johnson & Johnson. They started, early on, to look at this age group of 12 to 15 and 16 to 18, so they had already completed what we call the ‘phase three,'” Hysmith said.
Even though COVID-19 vaccines like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have not authorized younger people under 15 to get the vaccine, Hysmith says the Pfizer vaccine can lead to one step closer for fewer COVID-19 cases in children.
He also says, like adults, it is not recommended to quarantine after receiving the vaccine.
“It’s the same thing for kids. Once you’re vaccinated, once you’re two weeks past your vaccine, if you get exposed to somebody you don’t have to quarantine for that seven to 10 day period,” Hysmith said.
An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to meet Wednesday to review data and make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in 12 to 15-year-olds.