MAGIC VALLEY — This week, Pfizer announced a low dose of their COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
“Having a vaccine available for our younger children is something that we have been very enthusiastically waiting for. Part of that is because we have seen a huge increase in cases since our schools have reopened," Brianna Bodily, with the South Central Public Health District, said.
But the SCPHD says it is still unclear when they will approve the vaccine for that age group.
“Timelines are hard to predict, especially with so much load on our federal partners," Bodily said.
SCPHD says they will not approve the vaccine for children between 5 and 11 until the CDC has approved it as well. Pfizer says they have plans to submit their data to the FDA and other regulatory agencies as soon as possible.
“So typically the FDA will approve it first then the CDC will review and approve it. Then we have our on-staff doctor, who will review all of those recommendations and make her approval that we will then follow. So it could be a couple of months, it could be many months, it could be a year or more depending on what are some of those things they are seeing in these trials,” Bodily said.
Although this age group is less likely to suffer from severe complications if they contract COVID-19, health officials say it is still essential to have a vaccine available for this age group.
“Just because our younger kids are not as likely to have a severe reaction to covid-19 does not mean that they won’t. And it also doesn't mean that they won’t carry that home to family members to friends who will have a severe reaction. So one thing that we want to avoid is making schools a spreading point," Bodily said.
Pfizer's vaccine trial included more than 2,000 participants between the ages of 5-11 who were given a low dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials say they are hopeful this will help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We have been very hopeful that we will see a vaccine approved for some of our younger children so that we can help slow the spread of covid-19 even within those youngest in our society," Bodily said.