Local health officials discuss Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for those ages 5-11

JOPLIN/NEOSHO, Mo. – Local officials discuss the Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. Freeman today held a media briefing to discuss the vaccine.

The emergency use authorization granted to Pfizer for its COVID vaccine opens the door for more Americans to get vaccinated, but it also opens the door for more questions. Dr. Kimra Ross, a Freeman pediatrician, says they’re ready to answer parents questions. One of the most common questions is about side effects. “The side effect profile in the 5–11-year-old range is the same, but the chance of children having fever, having fatigue, having achiness after having the vaccine is actually less than it is in us as adults.”

Dr. Ross says this will also have an impact on schools. “There are 28 million children in the United States between 5 and 11 that are going to eligible for this vaccine, that’s going to make a huge difference in how this school year goes forward.”

The vaccine dosage for kids hasn’t arrived yet, but when it does, not everyone will be carrying it. Newton County Health Department Administrator Larry Bergner says they’re one agency that won’t have it. “We’re not handling the Pfizer vaccine, so we’re going to refer those kids 5-11 to either a pharmacy or a medical clinic, so they would need to contact their provider to see if they are handling the Pfizer vaccine.”

Bergner says that’s because of the storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine in general, which the health department doesn’t have facilities available to handle it. However, he does know the new age group will make a difference. “With this young group now able to be vaccinated, the cases hopefully will continue to come down and we can finally say that we are beyond this pandemic.”

Dr. Ross says it’s important for parents to do what’s right for their kids. “It’s helpful, it gives you some protection, but the full protection is coming in the two weeks after the second dose, but parents should certainly plan on getting it as soon as possible and be sure to get that second dose on schedule so we can further protect our children.”