The CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 5-11!

Families/Kids Vaccines

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (@CDC) is recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ALL KIDS age 5 to 11 following their Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting on November 2nd.

Big picture: The vaccine is safe and effective for these kids and clinicians are gearing up to start giving the vaccine to this age group ASAP! Read on for a way too long summary of the meeting and data presented:

Let’s start with the information on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in kids age 5-11:

➡️This vaccine is 2 shots, given 3 weeks apart. This dose is only 10 mcg, which is 1/3 of the dose given to adults and adolescents.

➡️Additional doses for immunocompromised children and booster doses are NOT currently recommended for this age group.

➡️The dose is based on the child’s age, not weight, on the day of the vaccination.

➡️The recommendation is based on a Phase 2/3 randomized control trial which gave over 3000 children the Pfizer vaccine.

➡️The vaccine efficacy (VE) estimate is 90.9% for prevention of symptomatic laboratory confirmed COVID-19. BOOM!

➡️The antibody response after the second dose was very similar to those in adolescents and adults.

➡️Side effects in kids were pretty much like everyone else. They mostly had mild to moderate symptoms after vaccination, like feeling tired (39.4%), headaches (28%), muscle pain (11.4%) and chills (9.8%). Most have a sore arm (71%).

➡️NO cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) were reported in the clinical trial.

➡️There were no serious adverse events (really bad things like hospitalization or suffering permanent disability) related to the vaccine and there were NO deaths. One kiddo swallowed a penny, but that wasn’t felt to be due to the vaccine. 😉

➡️About 9% of the kids in the trial were baseline SARS-CoV-2 seropositive (this means they already had COVID-19 antibodies in their blood). After vaccination, these kiddos had even higher antibodies than other children in the study. Even more important, rates of local and systemic reactions to the vaccine were LOWER than other kiddos. This means the vaccine is safe and effective for kids who already had COVID-19 infections. Another BOOM!

They also talked about kids and COVID-19 in general:

➡️Since the pandemic began, there were over 1.9 million cases, 8,300 hospitalizations, 2,315 MIS-C cases, and 94 deaths in children ages 5-11.

➡️COVID-19 infection is in the top 10 causes of death for children ages 5-11.

➡️Cases in kids are probably way underreported.

➡️Kids with underlying health problems are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, but severe illness can happen in any child.

➡️Post-COVID conditions (often called Long Covid) can occur in kids.

➡️Past infection does provide some protection to children, but this decreases with time due to waning immunity. Vaccines are safer and more reliable.

➡️People who had COVID-19 can test positive on commercial antibody tests even after important parts of the immunological response (like neutralizing antibodies) have decreased. This means that there is NO GOOD TEST to use to determine if someone who was previously infected is currently protected from reinfection. This is another reason why vaccines are important even if someone already had been infected and why antibody testing is not recommended prior to vaccination.

➡️Kids can spread COVID-19 to other people.

➡️Vaccinating kids is expected to decrease the incidence of COVID-19 infections nationally by 8%!

➡️Approximately 1.2 million kids have been impacted by school closures due to COVID-19 between August 2 to October 22, 2021 alone.

➡️The impact on kids of the pandemic has been terrible. We have seen worsening mental health, widening of education gaps, decreased healthcare utilization and routine immunization, and a big loss of family and loved ones.

Any other interesting things from the meeting?

➡️Children who had a history of MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children) can get vaccinated once they are feeling better and it has been at least 90 days from diagnosis.

➡️Medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be given if kids are having symptoms after vaccination. Talk with your kiddo’s primary care clinician to see if giving a medication is safe for your child. Aspirin is NOT recommended for people under the age of 18 due to the risk of developing Reye’s Syndrome.

➡️The COVID-19 vaccine can be administered with other vaccines.

➡️The risk of myocarditis from an mRNA vaccine is lower in this age group and myocarditis is already very rare from vaccination. The risk of myocarditis is 16 times higher from COVID-19 infection than from vaccination.

➡️Safety monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines will continue.

Ok, that was a lot and that was just a sample of the info presented! The ACIP website has all their presentation slides and will post a recording of the meeting. You can find those here and nerd out on all the data!

Vaccines are expected to be available at primary care officers, pharmacies, school-based vaccination clinics, children’s hospitals, and community sites.

Enjoy some good news!

Those Nerdy Girls

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