Getting closer to COVID vaccination for ages 5-11

Last week Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters. A second U.S. vaccine maker, Moderna, also is studying its shots in elementary school-aged children. Pfizer and Moderna are studying even younger children as well, down to 6-month-olds. Results are expected later in the year.

Austin Regional Clinic trial participation

Austin Regional Clinic’s Clinical Research division has been part of the Pfizer trial for children ages five to 11. Jacques Benun MDPediatrician at ARC Manor, lead the local vaccine trial in young kids. He said there was a lot more interest than there were study slots available. “Parents were begging to get be part of the trials,” Dr. Benun told KXAN in this recent news report.

However, he worries there’s still some hesitancy among parents in the community — and not just those who’ve been hesitant to get the vaccine themselves. “There’re some parents who are all for it, who can’t wait for their children to get the vaccine, and those are parents that they themselves have been proactive about getting it for themselves. But then I got the other side of the token,” Dr. Benun explained. “I got families who are hesitant to get vaccines to themselves, and they don’t want their children to get it. And then, I get mixed in between, where parents did get vaccinated, but they’re nervous to get their kids vaccinated, and they want to wait longer.” Dr. Benun urges against that mindset. “I wouldn’t delay one day,” he said, explaining he’s seeing great immunity in his trial participants whose doses are a third of the amount adults and older kids receive.

Side effects

Dr. Benun adds that side effects shouldn’t be of concern for parents. “They’re very similar to the adults--mild. The main examples are soreness on the site of the injection, headaches, body aches, and chills.”

Vaccine rollout

Dr. Benun does predict the rollout may take longer than it did for older kids, much like what was seen when the vaccine was first available for adults. That’s because clinics can’t use current vaccine doses they already have. They’ll have to wait on the smaller kids’ doses to be distributed throughout the country.

COVID-19 vaccine information and updates

For the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines, including when ARC will commence vaccinations for younger children, visit our COVID Updates page. Other links:

Vaccine Booster: The CDC has indicated they will recommend COVID-19 boosters for everyone starting in September. If you would like to schedule your booster now, you can schedule online at MyChartARC.com or call 866-453-4525. Read the FAQ.

Vaccine Availability: Currently Pfizer (12+) and Moderna (18+). Scheduling info at ARCCovidVaccine.com.

24/7 COVID-19 Hotline: 866-453-4525

Tags: COVID-19, vaccine