AP

Pfizer’s request to OK shots for kids a relief for parents

Oct 7, 2021, 5:31 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm
Sarah Staffiere adjusts a face covering on her daughter, Natalie, before school, Thursday, Oct. 7, ...

Sarah Staffiere adjusts a face covering on her daughter, Natalie, before school, Thursday, Oct. 7, 20211, in Waterville, Maine. Staffiere, a senior laboratory instructor at Colby College, said she will be relieved when her two children can be vaccinated. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Parents tired of worrying about classroom outbreaks and sick of telling their elementary school-age children no to sleepovers and family gatherings felt a wave of relief Thursday when Pfizer asked the U.S. government to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 5 to 11.

If regulators give the go-ahead, reduced-dose kids’ shots could begin within a matter of weeks.

That could bring many families a step closer to being done with remote learning, virus scares and repeated school shutdowns and quarantines.

“My son asked about playing sports. ‘After you’re vaccinated.’ He asked about seeing his cousins again. ‘After you’re vaccinated.’ A lot of our plans are on hold,” said Sarah Staffiere of Waterville, Maine, whose 7-year-old has a rare immune disease that has forced the family to be extra cautious throughout the pandemic.

“When he’s vaccinated, it would give our family our lives back,” she said.

Expanding vaccine availability to roughly 28 million more U.S. children is seen as another milestone in the fight against the virus and comes amid an alarming rise in serious infections in youngsters because of the extra-contagious delta variant.

It would also push the U.S. vaccination drive further ahead of much of the rest of the world at a time when many poor countries are desperately short of vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration must decide whether the shots are safe and effective in younger children.

Many parents and pediatricians are clamoring for protection for youngsters under 12, the current age cutoff for COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S.

Nine-year-old Audrey Moulder, who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Drexel Hill, is looking forward to visiting her grandmother without worrying she will give the older woman COVID-19.

“She’s excited because she thinks it’s a responsibility,” said her father, Justin Moulder. “She wants to keep her friends safe and her family safe.”

Dr. Amanda Powell, an internist and pediatrician who runs a clinic in Portland, Maine, is eager to set up worry-free play dates and plan a family trip again once her 9-year-old son is vaccinated.

“We want to be able to resume some normal activities,” she said.

But there are also plenty of parents who are wary about getting the shot themselves and are in no hurry to have their children vaccinated.

Heather Miller, a mother of four from Dexter, Maine, said she wants to wait for follow-up studies on the vaccine. “I’m not 100% against getting it eventually, but I kind of fall into the ‘not right now, wait and see’ category,” she said.

Cindy Schilling, an elementary school principal in West Virginia, which ranks dead last in the percentage of fully vaccinated residents, said it has been a rough start to the year because so many children are testing positive or quarantining at different times, making it hard for teachers and students to stay on track.

Still, she said she often hears parents say they are more concerned about the effects of the vaccine than COVID-19.

“Some parents are all for it and getting it for peace of mind,” she said, “but the majority of parents I’ve talked to will not be getting it.”

While kids are at lower risk of severe illness or death than older people, COVID-19 does sometimes kill children — at least 520 so far in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their research shows younger children should get one-third of the dose now given to everyone else. After their second dose, the 5- to 11-year-olds developed virus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as those that teens and young adults get from regular-strength shots.

On Oct. 26, an independent expert panel that advises the FDA will publicly debate the evidence. If the FDA authorizes emergency use of the kid-size doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make a final decision, after hearing from its outside advisers.

To avoid mix-ups, Pfizer is planning to ship the lower-dose vials specially marked for use in children.

It studied the lower dose in 2,268 volunteers ages 5 to 11 and said there were no serious side effects. The study isn’t large enough to detect any extremely rare side effects, such as the heart inflammation that sometimes occurs after the second dose of the regular-strength vaccine, mostly in young men.

Moderna has requested FDA permission to use its vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds and also is studying its shots in elementary school children. Both Pfizer and Moderna are studying even younger children as well, down to 6-month-olds. Results are expected later in the year.

___

AP journalist Emma H. Tobin contributed to this report.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 file photo, emissions rise from the smokestacks at the Jeff...
Associated Press

Study: Fossil fuel plans would far overshoot climate goals

LONDON (AP) — The world needs to cut by more than half its production of coal, oil and gas in the coming decade to maintain a chance of keeping global warming from reaching dangerous levels, according to a U.N.-backed study released Wednesday. The report published by the U.N. Environment Program found that while governments have […]
22 hours ago
Danaka Katovich of Code Pink, holds a sign during a rally to protest former Chicago Mayor Rahm Eman...
Associated Press

Police shooting looms over Emanuel in confirmation battle

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fatal police shooting of a Black teen in Chicago seven years ago is looming large over the city’s former mayor, Rahm Emanuel, as he looks to win confirmation as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Japan. Several liberal House lawmakers and activists complain that Emanuel’s handling of the death of 17-year-old Laquan […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

San Francisco shuts burger spot for not checking vaccination

The In-N-Out hamburger chain is sizzling mad after San Francisco shut down its indoor dining for refusing to check customers’ vaccination status. The company’s Fisherman’s Wharf location — its only one in San Francisco — was temporarily shut by the Department of Public Health on Oct. 14. Authorities said it refused to bar clients who […]
22 hours ago
FILE - In this July 12, 2020, file photo, smoke rises from the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base S...
Associated Press

Navy probe finds major failures in fire that destroyed ship

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Navy report has concluded there were sweeping failures by commanders, crew members and others that fueled the July 2020 arson fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard, calling the massive five-day blaze in San Diego preventable and unacceptable. While one sailor has been charged with setting the fire, the more than […]
22 hours ago
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, center, along wit...
Associated Press

Biden focuses on climate, families in trimmed $2T plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scaling down his “build back better” plans, President Joe Biden has described a more limited vision to Democratic lawmakers of a $2 trillion government-overhaul package with at least $500 billion to tackle climate change and money for middle-class priorities — child tax credits, paid family leave, health care and free pre-kindergarten. And […]
22 hours ago
Security forces patrol the streets of Croix-des-Bouquets, near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct....
Associated Press

Negotiations drag on over 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Negotiations stretched into a fourth day seeking the return of 17 members of a U.S.-based missionary group kidnapped over the weekend by a violent gang that is demanding $1 million ransom per person. The group includes five children whose ages range from 8 months to 15 years, although authorities were not […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Pfizer’s request to OK shots for kids a relief for parents