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Health expert explains COVID-19 vaccine approval for kids ages 5 to 11

The approval of Pfizer's pediatric vaccine has been a long time coming for many parents and health professionals. Sponsored by Premera

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and authorized by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for kids ages 5 to 11. Many health professionals are recommending kids get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

“The FDA and CDC looked at the study [Pfizer] did in the age group of 5 to 11, and they found that the vaccine was very effective and very safe,” said Dr. Steven Jacobson, medical director at Premera.

The study found some common side effects, including irritation and discomfort at the site of immunization, headaches or fatigue. There were no serious side effects reported. 

Close to 250 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been given in the U.S. to those ages 12 and up. The approval of the vaccine for children has been long-awaited by parents and health professionals.  

“We just like to be more careful with children for medicines and vaccines,” Dr. Jacobson said. “The fact that this has been looked at and given to so many adults — I think that provides an extra assurance that it’s safe for our children as well.”

Though COVID-19 cases are declining across the U.S., they are still significant. Some schools in Washington state have had to halt in-person learning because of outbreaks. 

“I think getting this vaccine to the younger children is going to keep them protected, but then it’s going to keep adults protected as well and allow our schools to remain open.”

Though many children may get through a COVID-19 infection more easily than an adult, they can still get quite sick. There have been at least 8,000 hospitalizations across the U.S. of kids ages 5 to 11, and at least 5,000 cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

The Pfizer vaccine for children is made up of the same makeup as for adults, but it is a smaller dose. The dose for children is one-third of an adult’s dose. 

As for adults, it may be time to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. For people who have had the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, Dr. Jacobson explained you are ready for a booster if it’s been six months since your last dose and you are over 65. You are also ready for a booster shot if you are over 18 and living in long-term care, have a chronic health condition or if you live or work in a higher risk exposure situation, like teachers or healthcare workers. 

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids and booster shots, visit the Premera website.

Sponsored by Premera. Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day