FDA Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11


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By Vanessa Hudson, Editor in Chief


The Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on Oct. 29, 2021. The vaccine gives children a way to protect themselves, their family and their friends from serious cases of COVID-19. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 28 million children ages 5-11 in the United States, and there have been about 2 million COVID-19 cases among this age group.

COVID-19 can lead to hospitalizations and death for children, despite the original theory that children were not as affected by the virus. The CDC says that there have been around 8,300 hospitalizations and almost 100 deaths of 5-11 year old children. COVID-19 is ranked as one of the top ten causes of death for this age group. 

The FDA found the vaccine was 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children. They conducted a study with 3,100 children, and the vaccine did not have any major side effects. 

Although the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not 100% guarantee non-infection, it can protect a child from the virus and decrease the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus.

Phillip Singer is a professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Utah. He has a doctorate in Health Services and a master’s degree in Health Service Administration. He has also published several chapters and collaborative articles on the subject of COVID-19. 

“Just because fewer kids … have serious cases doesn’t mean zero kids have serious cases,” Singer said. “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.” 

Although the vaccine was approved at a rapid rate, there are several years of research and extensive safety monitoring protocols in place.

“So [the vaccine] is safe and effective, and we hear this from elected officials, from scientists, from physicians, that this is … a safe and effective tool in our fight against COVID,” Singer said.

Brent Steele is also a professor in the Political Science Department at the U, and a father to younger children.

“There was a little bit of skepticism because everyone knew that it felt like a rushed process,” Steele said. “Now … we have so much data … on … how incredibly safe they are.”

The vaccine is proven to protect kids from hospitalization and death.

“It protects them against the virus, and not only the virus as we’ve known it … but it also can protect them against future variants,” Steele said. “We still don’t know a lot about it [the Omicron variant], but it’s here, and it will be here.” 

In addition to the scientific research supporting the vaccine, there is a reason parents want their kids to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“When it came to my kids knowing that [the vaccine] was there … I knew that once they were eligible, I really wanted them to get the shot,” Steele said. 

There are also ways to prepare for side effects ahead of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. According to Steele, it is good to drink lots of fluids and stretch out one’s arms. 


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