Pfizer and BioNTech announce its vaccine generates a strong immune response in kids between 5 and 11. The companies tested a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms -- about a third the dosage used for teens and adults -- administered three weeks apart.
The data must be reviewed by the FDA before kids can be inoculated, but signals promise says Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, medical epidemiologist at Cornell University. Weisfuse has more than 25 years of experience in public health at the local and national levels.
“Pfizer's announcement that its pediatric vaccine elicits a strong antibody response is great news for children, parents and teachers. Once approved by the FDA and CDC, elementary school-aged children can more actively participate in activities, and likely attend schools without the potential threat of quarantines. This will translate into better class attendance and reassure teachers that the school environment is safe.”
Dr. Luis Schang, a molecular virologist, says children serve a key role in quelling the pandemic.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic now being driven by the unvaccinated populations, it is critical to increase vaccine coverage. One of the important still unvaccinated segments is children, who make up close to 25% of the total U.S. population. Although children most commonly suffer only asymptomatic infections, they are getting sick with COVID-19 more and more frequently.
“Children also act as effective virus carriers between unvaccinated high-risk individuals, perpetuating the pandemic and thus increasing the risks for everybody, including themselves and other children.
“Adding children to the population eligible for vaccination will increase the level of coverage, thus protecting the vaccinated children directly through their own immunity and indirectly by curtailing the circulation of the virus and thus minimizing the chances of any infections, hospitalizations, severe infections, and death.”