Pfizer is trying to get emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration so kids 5 to 11 years old can get its COVID-19 vaccine.
The FDA will meet in three weeks to discuss Pfizer’s request, but local health departments have already started gearing up.
Pfizer ran a trial test last month, testing its vaccine on about 2,000 children ages 5 to 11.
They gave those children a smaller dose and say their results showed no serious side effects.
Health officials in the Quad Cities are starting to make plans in case the FDA gives Pfizer the green light, including how they’ll keep different doses organized, along with the setting in which they will give the vaccines.
One of their main concerns right now is how many parents will actually want to give their kids the vaccine.
“They’re going to be pouring over this data to make sure that this is safe,” said Rock Island County Health Department COO Janet Hill. “The FDA will not put it out if they deem it not to be safe.”
Part of the health department’s plan is giving kids the vaccine in individual rooms rather than in a room full of other kids.
“If you line up a bunch of kids in a room where they see other kids getting shots, that may not work as well as it would with adults,” said Hill.
With over 35% of people ages 12 and older in the Quad Cities area not having even one dose of the vaccine, those health officials are concerned about parents getting their kids the shots.
“The parents of these young children are in their 20s, 30s and 40s,” said Hill. “If they’re not getting protected, then we’re worried that they won’t get their children protected.”
Hill says they’re especially concerned since local COVID-19 deaths have been on the rise over the past month.
“You know, we’ve been seeing rising deaths here in Rock Island County since about Labor Day,” said Hill.
Even though children are more likely to survive COVID-19 than older individuals, health departments are still concerned about them spreading the virus.
“We are worried about children being able to pass it on to someone whose bodies may not be able to fight it off as easily,” said Hill.
With children potentially having access to the vaccine, health officials hope it will be one step closer to normality.
“We can get back to normal,” said Hill. “We can get past this pandemic.”
The FDA will be meeting Tuesday, Oct. 26, to discuss authorizing the vaccine for children.
Parents in the Quad Cities and beyond can expect the vaccine to become available to anyone 5 and older soon after this date.
With the possibility of COVID-19 vaccines for children approaching, Local 4 News wanted to hear from parents.
Local 4’s Kennedy Cook reports the majority of parents on the WHBF Facebook page were against vaccinating their children — posting statistics, videos and memes on why exactly they won’t be getting their children vaccinated.
Parents also expressed their concerns with schools making the vaccine mandatory for their kids.
“Kids get the shots that they need for school, but from what I’ve heard, it’s not safe, and it’s not doing any good, so there’s no point in risking it,” said Stacey Charlton, a mother. “That’s how I feel, and I will pull my kids out.”
While most parents on this particular post did agree with Charlton, a few people said they would get their children vaccinated, if available.
“Children receive a lot of childhood vaccines,” said mother, Mary Pikis. “Even though the other vaccines have been around for a long time, I think keeping everybody immune and safe of all ages is very important.”
Parents may not be able to agree on whether or not to get their children vaccinated, but they are on the same page of putting their children’s safety first.