Alabama doctors discuss COVID-19 shots for children aged 5-11

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Children ages five to eleven will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine at their pediatrician’s office, pharmacy and in some cases at schools.

Tuesday, an advisory panel to the FDA will meet to discuss kid-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to consider giving it emergency authorization.

“The health, safety and well-being of children are extremely important to us as pediatricians and we also want kids to get back to a sense of normal, we want our kids to be in the classroom, we want our kids to be healthy,” said Karen Landers, Health Officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Pfizer has been offering COVID-19 shots to children 12 years and older since May. Now, the company is pushing to get approval to vaccinate children aged five to eleven.

“Preliminary data indicates that the vaccine has been very safe in the study group and it has not presented untoward side effects,” Dr. Landers said.

The federal government has already purchased millions of doses of the vaccine for children, ensuring that if approved it will be readily available. Some 25,000 health care providers nationwide have already said they want doses of the children’s vaccine.

“I do believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is an important element in being able to not only protect children but to get this pandemic farther under control,” Dr. Landers said.

Doctor Scott Field from Field Pediatrics, P.C. said that he does not plan to have the vaccine available at his clinic in Huntsville.

“I just don’t think it’s needed that much and there’s a lot of other providers that are offering it, the pharmacies and the hospitals have been doing it for our kids who are over 12 and have already been approved for,” said Dr. Field.

Dr. Field said he won’t offer the shot to his patients because he believes that children in that age group aren’t at a high enough risk for severe disease.

Dr. Landers said that the Alabama Department of Public Health has started working on plans to help distribute the shot if it’s given emergency use authorization.

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