COVID vaccines for kids expected to be available next week

By Dar Danielson, Radio Iowa
A University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics expert says kids ages five to 11 could start getting vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of next week.

UIHC Chief Pharmacy Officer, Michael Brownlee, says with one FDA panel signing off on Pfizer vaccines for kids there’s is one more approval needed. He says once the CDC advisory group on immunization practices signs off on the advisory from the FDA, things can proceed. Brownlee says the advisory group will meet on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Brownlee says precautions were taken to minimize the impact on kids. “The study for approval for these kids five to 11 — the dose is a third of the adult dose — and it was done very intentionally to minimize side effects and potentially long-term side effects as well,” Brownlee says.

He says the lower dose still does the job. “When we look at the side effect profile of the vaccine that we got, we were able to see a very strong immune response with the lower dose, but much less side effects,” according to Brownlee. “So I think Pfizer has done a good job of minimizing side effects.” Brownlee knows there is a debate between those who think vaccinations are important — and those who don’t. He says the protection is not just for the kids.

“There’s a lot of questions about the safety for the child individually. But what we see and have seen is spread from kids who pick it up in sports and in school and then it goes back into their homes and then family members become ill because of that,” he says. Brownlee says they are not yet sure how many doses of the vaccine for kids they would get at the U-I.