PORT OF SPAIN- TRINIDAD- In what can be described as another piece of the puzzle in the fight against COVID-19, Pfizer announced that its vaccine was safe and generated a robust antibody response in children ages 5 to 11.
While this is welcomed news for many in the United States and globally, the data has not yet been published or peer-reviewed.
The company said that it plans to submit a request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization. The FDA has indicated that once the data is submitted, it could take just a few weeks before the authorization is granted.
There were 2,268 participants in the trial in this age group using a two-dose regimen of the vaccine administered 3 weeks apart.
The trial used a 10- microgram dose, much smaller than the 30- microgram dose that was used for children 12 and older. Pfizer noted that the immune response of the children in this age group (5-11) compared well with the older children who received the larger dose.
Pfizer also noted that there are no instances of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that has been linked to mRNA vaccines. Additionally, Pfizer said that it is expecting trial data for children as young as 6 months by the fourth quarter of this year.
This news could not have come at a better time, since infection in children has increased by about 240% in the United States with the reopening of schools and the advent of the Delta variant.
There is also a significant increase in pediatric infections in Trinidad and Tobago, although schools have not yet reopened for face-to-face classes. Among the latest pediatric patients in Trinidad and Tobago is one case of the delta variant.
While this landmark is a reason to celebrate as it gives added protection to the younger children, it must be noted that a vaccine is only as good, when it is administered.
In a survey conducted in the United States, by Kaiser Family Foundation, 25% of the parents of children in this age group (5-11) indicated that they will vaccinate their children immediately, 40% said that they would wait and see and another 25% said that they will not vaccinate their children against COVID- 19, with another 10% undecided.
This is where the problem lies. Vaccine hesitancy and apathy will derail the fight against COVID-19.
This reporter is flabbergasted that the same adults who were vaccinated as children and who have had many different vaccines administered to their children are now refusing to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
The University of Social media seems to be more effective than the tried and proven science. The biggest losers in all of this will be our children. What a sorry state of affairs!