After what has felt for many parents like an interminable delay, there’s finally some good news on the kid-vaccination front.
On Monday, Pfizer reported that its vaccine, produced with partner BioNTech, provokes a strong immune response in children ages 5 to 11. The company expects to apply for FDA emergency approval in the coming days, and if the agency grants it — which appears very likely — millions of children in that age bracket could be getting their first shots by October.
In trials, the company tested its vaccine on more than 2,000 children at a much lower dose than that administered to adults. Pfizer’s vaccine prompted a vigorous antibody reaction compared to a placebo, and was not associated with serious side effects.
Throughout the pandemic, children have remained at vastly lower risk from COVID-19 than adults, particularly older adults. But as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc across the country — largely among unvaccinated people — there has been a spike in serious COVID cases among children, with tens of thousands hospitalized. Children are also capable of spreading the virus to others. And the return of school in August and September has only heightened the anxiety for parents and children, particularly in places that have taken a laissez-faire approach to the virus.