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Bozeman Health pediatrician discusses COVID vaccine for kids under 12

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 10:47:36-04

BOZEMAN — If you’re 12 or older, then you have the option of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, but what about those from five to 11?

“Twenty six percent of cases are now in pediatric patients, so I am hopeful that with the rollout of this vaccine we are going to see a great improvement in those numbers,” said pediatrician Dr. Kristen Day.

And it’s only a matter of time.

“Pfizer submitted their data to the FDA on Monday, which is really exciting because that means that we’re one step closer to the emergency use authorization for the five to 11-year-old range," Day said. "We expect that once we have the emergency use authorization requested, it’ll be three to four weeks before that is granted by the FDA, then we’ll be able to start giving vaccines.”

But why is there a need to break the vaccine up into age groups?

“The 12-year age range is where we’re seeing a lot of kids starting to go through puberty, and so they’re getting a lot more of the changes that give them the adult physiology, and so I would imagine that that’s why they’ve chosen these groups,” Day explained.

And what’s the difference between these vaccines?

“The ingredients between the two vaccines are going to be exactly the same. It’s just the amount of medication that is in the dosing,” said Day.

Children in the 5-11 age range are given one-third of the dosage adults are given, and after this age group, Pfizer will continue to the next.

“It is going to continue until we get an infant vaccine. They’re doing studies on the 6-month to 4-year age range right now. They’re thinking by the end of the year we might have the information on the immune response to that vaccine.”

Bozeman Health encourages parents to first talk with their children's primary physician for more information.