Bozeman Health pediatrician discusses COVID vaccine for kids under 12

BOZEMAN — If you’re 12 or older, you have the option to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but what about those ages five to eleven?

“Twenty-six percent of cases are now in pediatric patients, so I’m hopeful that with the rollout of this vaccine, we’ll see a big improvement in those numbers,” said pediatrician Dr. Kristen Day.

And it’s only a matter of time.

“Pfizer submitted their data to the FDA on Monday, which is really exciting because that means we’re one step closer to emergency authorization for the five to 11-year-old series,” Day said. “We expect that once we have applied for emergency use approval, it will take three to four weeks for it to be granted by the FDA, then we can start giving vaccines.”

But why is it necessary to divide the vaccine into age groups?

“In the age group of 12, we see a lot of kids going through puberty, and so they get a lot more of the changes that give them the adult physiology, and so I imagine that’s why they have these groups chosen,” Day explained.

And what is the difference between these vaccines?

“The ingredients between the two vaccines will be exactly the same. It’s just the amount of medication that’s in the dosage,” Day said.

Children in the 5-11 age group receive a third of the dosage that adults receive, and after this age group, Pfizer moves on to the next.

“It will continue until we get an infant vaccine. They are now doing studies on the age range from 6 months to 4 years. They think we’ll have the information about the immune response to that vaccine by the end of the year.”

Bozeman Health encourages parents to speak to their children’s primary care physician first for more information.

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