Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization for children ages 5 through 11 this week. While this vaccine has been available for adults and children 12 and up for some time, we know many of you may have questions about the vaccine for children and how to get one for your child.
The pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 has some differences from the vaccine that is offered to children 12 and up. Most importantly, it will be a different concentration than the adult dose and children will receive a lower dose (1/3 the adult dose).
The vaccine is highly effective, with clinical trials showing 90% efficacy. Most common reported side effects were fatigue, headaches, chills and muscle aches. Fever was a much less common side effect compared to adults. While some of you may be concerned about myocarditis, a side effect of heart inflammation that was reported with the adult dose, the current studies for the pediatric dose had no cases. Current cases of vaccine induced myocarditis have all been much milder when compared to COVID myocarditis, which could lead to long term health problems. We do strongly believe there is a need for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as COVID is now one of the top ten leading causes of death for children, with 30% of children admitted with COVID having no other underlying health conditions and hospitalization rates higher than the flu.
Our office will be offering COVID-19 vaccine to our patients who are 5-11 years old as the state makes them available to us. Now that the vaccine is formally approved, we expect a limited supply of vaccine to offer our patients. Appointments will need to be made separate from a child’s sick or well visit, as the vaccine requires a 15 minutes observation period following administration. While we hope to ramp up our supply of the vaccine, we will not have enough vaccine to vaccinate all eligible and interested children right away. We will be prioritizing families and children who need extra help with receiving vaccines. If you are interested in your child receiving a vaccine as soon as possible and your child(ren) tolerate receiving vaccines, we recommend scheduling an appointment through Yale New Haven Hospital which will have dedicated pediatric vaccine clinics or other locations as they become available.
If you have questions regarding your child receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you schedule a telemedicine visit with your doctor to discuss individual questions.
We thank all of our patients and families again for keeping themselves and their communities safe. Help us take these small steps to get us back to normal.
The Doctors of Hamden Pediatrics
Lisa Visscher, MD
Dena Springer, MD
Rachel Boyarsky, MD
Alicia Antman, MD