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COVID vaccine for young children could come by midweek

Northern Light Health assuring parents of the safety and efficacy of shots
Children five and older could soon be eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Children five and older could soon be eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.(10/11 NOW)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 4:04 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The CDC is set to meet Tuesday to vote on Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 after the FDA issued emergency use authorization last week.

But according to a new national survey only about 27% of families surveyed say they plan to vaccinate their young children as soon as possible. Another report shows parental concerns surrounding COVID shots increased significantly from June through September.

Joy Hollowell spoke with Dr. James Jarvis at Northern Light Health to help answer some of the questions surrounding the COVID vaccine and young kids.

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“Protect the child, keep the child in school and protect everybody that that child loves.”

Those three things, says Dr. James Jarvis with Northern Light Health, are the trifecta of getting children vaccinated against coronavirus. Jarvis says severe illness and even death caused by COVID is possible in young kids.

“Even if we’re not talking about severe disease, kids with COVID have to stay home, kids who get exposed to COVID have to stay home and we want our kids to stay in school,” he says.

Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages five to 11 will be about a third of the messenger RNA found in adult and adolescent vaccines.

“So it will be a little less of the entity that causes you to create the spike protein which then turns on your immune system so that then you’re prepared in case you do get exposed to the virus,” Jarvis explains.

One other important distinction- the COVID vaccine for kids will be packaged and marketed as if it is a different vaccine.

“And only because of safety concerns,” says Jarvis. “We don’t want anybody to have both the adult and the pediatric version on their shelf and accidentally draw up the wrong one for the wrong person.”

Like the adult and adolescent version, Pfizer’s vaccine for children will come in two doses, with a recommended three-week separation. Side effects are also the same, ranging from a sore arm to muscle and body aches and even a fever. usually lasting less than 24 hours.

“And that’s good news because we don’t want to have to keep our kids out from school while we’re protecting them to keep them in school,” Jarvis says.

And while Jarvis acknowledges the vaccine is not 100% effective against contracting nor spreading COVID-19-.

“What we know is it’s much less likely that you do that,” he says.

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Anticipating a green light from vaccine advisers, the Biden administration announced Monday it is assembling and shipping millions of COVID-19 shots for children ages 5-11.

The first could go into kids’ arms by midweek.

Dr. Jarvis recommends kids get both the COVID and flu shots at the same time, saying it is safe to do.

“We don’t want to sit there and try to tease out whether your child has the flu or has COVID,” he says. “Either way, they’re going to have to be quarantined, let’s get the protection against every respiratory virus that we can.”

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