Twenty-eight million kids ages 5 to 11 became eligible to receive the Pfizer–BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine following the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official approved emergency authorization.
“This is a critical step to ensuring that all K–12 school-aged children have the chance to be protected from COVID-19 as the Delta variant spreads and the winter season is upon us,” says Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, hospital epidemiologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
“The Pfizer mRNA vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years will be a third of the adult dose, which makes sense to me, because we know children have a robust immune response and they’re smaller than adults. The lower dose should also reduce any side effects from the vaccine,” says Dr. Lighter in a vaccine special on CBS New York. “We know that children are at low risk for developing severe COVID-19 infection, but that doesn’t mean they cannot develop severe infection. Vaccinating children can also protect our community at large, including people that are at higher risk from COVID-19–related complications.”
Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital has been administering the vaccine to eligible patients age 5 and older. “Parents may understandably have many questions and concerns, and it may be challenging to differentiate between facts and misinformation as they make this decision for their kids,” says Dr. Lighter. “I want to help families make an informed decision.”
Watch the segment on CBS New York.