WNY pediatricians ‘very excited’ about Pfizer announcing its vaccine works for children aged 5 to 11


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine works for children as young as five-years-old, it’s now waiting on FDA approval for emergency use.

“Pfizer is saying that they expect an FDA approval in weeks, not months so we’re really hoping as we move forward in the next month or two that we’ll be able to start vaccinating these school-aged children,” said Dr. Kathleen Grisanti, who’s the president and medical director of the Pediatric & Adolescent Urgent Care of WNY.

“We want to get as many people as possible vaccinated because the more people that are vaccinated in the community the quicker we can return to normal,” said Stephen Turkovich, who’s the Chief Medical Officer at Oishei Children’s Hospital. “So by making the 5 to 11 year-olds within the nation eligible we will increase the number of eligible people by 28 million.”

People in the community say they’re on board with children in that age group getting vaccinated.

“I’m 100 percent pro-vaccine because if you go with science, science is not wrong so I’m all for it. I think it’s a good idea. It’s about time,” Tyshawn Thomas said. “I think this will help with the curve. I think the numbers are going to go down, so I’m all for it.”

“I have a cousin who’s in that age group and I think she’s been wanting to get the vaccine because she’s been very anxious about the whole thing and with kids being out of school I think it’s increased their anxiety,” Caroline Terhaar said. “I think getting vaccinated would just help them get back into their normal routine.”

Because the vaccine would be for a younger age group, the vaccine dose is lower than what’s used for people older than 11-years-old, but experts say the vaccine is just as effective.

“They found that the antibody levels that the vaccine produced were equivalent or even a little bit higher than what we’ve seen in the adults and older children that got the vaccine,” Turkovich said.

Local pediatricians also stress parents go to the experts with their vaccine concerns.

“I think there’s always concern with anything new and again we just kind of reassure them that this is not a new technology that we have been using this type of technology in all sorts of vaccines,” Grisanti said. “We just encourage them to talk to their pediatricians to find out their recommendations and vaccinate their children as soon as it becomes available to them.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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