Following FDA’s approval, children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Washington state. This news comes as a relief as children in this age group make up nearly 40 percent of cases in individuals younger than 18. This is a step toward ending the pandemic and ensuring the safety of children in schools. Getting your child vaccinated greatly lowers the risk of getting COVID-19, and in the case of infection, reduces the chance of severe illness and death. Being vaccinated also makes it harder for the disease to spread as more and more people are immunized.
Similar to the vaccine for individuals 12 and older, it is administered in two shots three weeks apart. The vaccine was found to be 90.7 percent effective in the prevention of COVID-19. The pediatric dosage is 10 micrograms, compared to the 30 micrograms given to older individuals. The vaccine has been thoroughly studied before approval. In this case, the vaccine’s safety was studied with approximately 3,100 children and no serious side effects have been documented so far in the ongoing trial. Generally, side effects have been reported to be mild to moderate. Side effects last a day or two after each dose and include a sore arm, headache, fatigue, fever, chills, and nausea.
Rollouts may be limited at first since the initial supply in the state is roughly 315,000 doses. You might need to check multiple providers to find available vaccines. If your regular pediatrician does not carry the vaccine then Vaccinate WA’s vaccine locator is a great resource. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to your primary care provider, local clinic, or pharmacy. Getting vaccinated is an important step in returning back to normal life; together we can end the pandemic.