Pfizer announced this week that recent trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11. The trial included 2,268 participants ages 5 to 11 and used a two-dose vaccine regimen administered 21 days apart. Few children in the trial experienced side effects, which were similar in frequency and severity to the side effects experienced by adults. Pfizer also confirmed that there were no instances of myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation that has been linked with mRNA vaccines. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for people aged 16 and older and authorized for use in people ages 12 to 15.
Pfizer executives said that a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 could be available by Halloween. Coronavirus infections have risen at a dramatic rate among children in the 5 to 11 age group across the United States. Children account for nearly 29% of all U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationwide poll last month, which found that 26% of parents of children ages 5 to 11 say they will vaccinate their children “right away” once a vaccine is authorized. However, 40% of parents said they would “wait and see” how the vaccine is working before they get younger children vaccinated.