Alabama parents prepare for COVID-19 vaccine approval for children 5 to 11

Coronavirus
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Following endorsement from a panel of health advisors, the nation could be days away from final authorization to get kids 5 to 11 years old vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted to recommend the vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. Now, the FDA must formally authorize the doses before the centers for disease control and prevention recommends them.

Now, local doctors believe children could get the vaccine in just a matter of weeks.

“So, I think by the time we get to the middle part of next week we quite likely will be able to say yes 5-11 years should receive the vaccine,” said Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “We still have more expert and independent reviews to undertake but that’s the direction that it seems to be heading,”

Valerie Suggs, a mother with two children under the age of 12, said she is eager to get her kids vaccinated, especially with the holidays right around the corner.

“My hope is that they will have it in time to have a more normal extended family Christmas and hopefully return to school in the new year that would be great for them and our family too,” Suggs said.

Suggs said she’s been in contact with her children’s doctor about the vaccine and if it’s the best decision for her family.

“You know, we’ve talked to our pediatrician about it several times and she’s very confident that it’s safe and effective,” she said. “We have a really good relationship with her, and I’ve trusted her judgment on every other vaccine that I’ve given to my kids.”

Kimberlin said even though children will receive a lower dosage of the vaccine than the rest of the population, research shows it’s just as safe and effective as before.

“Use of the vaccine in 5–11-year olds will be with a third of the dose of the amount of the vaccine given to adolescents and young and older adults. Side effects that it had were all that we’ve experienced in the adult population as well as sore arm some tiredness you know things that don’t slow you down substantially,” he said.

If approved, around 28 million across the country could begin vaccinations early next month with the first kids in line fully protected by Christmas.

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