COVID-19 Vaccine Made Available for Children Ages 5-11


Photo by Paulo H Carvalho / Agência Brasília

Manwela Katas

The FDA and CDC Authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 to 11 in the US.

Children ages 5 to 11 are now able to receive the Pfizer vaccine as of November 2, 2021. It was announced by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that the vaccine will be available in all US states. The vaccine can be found at regular pharmacy chains, pediatricians, community and health centers such as INOVA clinic, Joseph Willard Health Center, Herndon-Reston District Office, to find more locations near you visit this site.

A clinical trial was started by Pfizer and BioNTech that studied a 10-microgram vaccine dose in children ages 5 to 11. The trial concluded that the vaccine was 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. According to the FDA, “the FDA and the CDC have several systems in place to continually monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety and allow for the rapid detection and investigation of potential safety problems.” The US will distribute the vaccine in smaller doses and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer to kids. The dosage given will be a third of the dose given to teens ages 12-17 and adults. The kids’ vaccine still involves two shots spaced three weeks apart. Side effects include pain (sore arm), redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite; side effects of the vaccine remain the same for kids between the ages of 5 to 11 compared to teens and adults.

There have been a reporting of 1.9 million COVID-19 cases in the 5-11 age group with 8,300 hospitalizations and at least 94 cases resulting in death. Vaccinating these children will prevent their chances of getting severely ill due to COVID-19 and provide children with COVID-19 a greater chance at recovery and improve their symptoms, as well as prevent cases that may result in hospitalization. In addition, the vaccine will help fight the wave of the delta variant that caused severe COVID-19 cases in children. Natalie Swensson, a mother of two says, “The risks of my child becoming severely ill, hospitalized or developing long-term COVID-19 issues outweigh any possible risks from the vaccine. … We want the pandemic to end. Vaccination is the best way to make that happen.”

In a recent reporting published by NPR, a pediatrician at Duke University expresses her opinion on how parents are feeling about the vaccine, “Now that this option is becoming a reality, parents are now weighing that decision of vaccinate or not as we’re reaching a point in the pandemic where it seems that case rates have either plateaued or declined quite significantly in a lot of areas,” she says. “Which is a good thing, but it puts us in an interesting quandary.” A majority of parents are supportive of the vaccine since they hope that it could bring back some normalcy to their children’s lives as well as protecting them from the disease; however, not all parents can agree, according to the state of Virginia 66% of parents are concerned about the possible side effects of the vaccine and some feel that it is unnecessary for children since they are at a lower risk of catching COVID-19. Since the release of the vaccine many cases in FCPS have dropped dramatically because of early encouragement to administer the vaccine to this age group and overall as residents of the US we hope that this vaccine will contribute to ending COVID-19.