SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12-15 within the next week.
Once it then gets approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents will be able to protect their kids against the virus that's drastically changed how they learn, play, and interact with peers, but how will the vaccine differ for a younger, smaller population?
If given the green light, this will be the first COVID-19 vaccine approved for people younger than 16 in the U.S.
Western Mass News asked a local doctor how the child version could differ from the one being given out to adults right now.
"I would advise someone to get it before they die,” local grandfather Ricardo Velez said.
Grandfather of three, Velez, said he has one more dose to go before he's considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
But he said he thinks it is a good idea to vaccinate children against the virus too.
“Just in case they happened to be next to someone else that might have it,” Velez explained.
As Pfizer seeks approval for its shot in children ages 12 to 15, Western Mass News asked you, the viewers, whether or not you would get your child that vaccine.
You told us everything from yeah why not to absolutely not, and some said they want to wait a bit.
We spoke with Baystate Health Pediatrician Dr. John O’Reilly about how the vaccine would work in that age group, and he said the dose is the same as the adult version of the shot.
“The adult dose is 30 μg (micrograms), and that's what they used in the 12 to 15 group,” Dr. O’Reilly said.
He said that size of the patient is not a big factor.
“It's not as much weight as it is sort of maturity of the immune system so, their immune system is essentially that of an adult,” Dr. O’Reilly said.
However, what if your child is younger than 12?
He said that's what vaccine manufacturers are trying to figure out with doses between 2 and 10 micrograms.
“It will be going to decrease dosing in these younger groups and they may, depending for the youngest groups, for the kids six months to two years old they may even have a third dose,” Dr. O’Reilly explained.
Pfizer has said it plans to apply for emergency use authorization for its vaccine on 2 to 11-year-olds sometime in September.
Moderna has announced it is currently testing its vaccine on children six months and older.
“And the FDA will probably take somewhere between four to eight weeks to kind of go through it,” Dr. O’Reilly said.
We asked Dr. O’Reilly whether this could interfere with the flu shot schedule if approved. He said there should be a two-week gap between any vaccine and the Pfizer COVID-19 shot, so his advice to parents: “Let's get the flu vaccines done early this season. Let's get the kids in, in August, September, so that when they are approved for the Pfizer vaccine, they'll have that window which they can just come in."
According to Pfizer, their trial on 12 to 15-year-olds showed higher efficacy against the virus than their trial in 16 to 25-year-olds.