Midlands pediatrician and parents react to news of Pfizer trials in children under age 12

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Monday brought big news from Pfizer.

The drug company announced that Phases 2 and 3 of trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in kids ages 5 to 11 proved to be safe and effective.

“Obviously the more kids we get vaccinated, the better off we will be with our herd immunity as well as decreasing spread,” said Dr. Anna Kathryn Burch, Prisma Health pediatrician.

Dr. Burch reports that most of the children in pediatric ICUs across the state are unvaccinated.

A vaccine would help prevent the disease and protect a child from serious effects if they did catch the virus say health experts.

“It’s the easiest and best way of protecting your kid from getting COVID 19,” Burch said.

The Pfizer trial data must first be submitted to the FDA. The FDA then has to review it and approve the vaccine for emergency use authorization.

Dr. Burch expects it to be approved and going into arms by Halloween.

She adds that there is even more incentive for parents to get their kids vaccinated than just helping stop the spread.

“So if your child is exposed to COVID at school, guess what? They don’t have to quarantine,” the pediatrician said. “They get to stay in school as long as they have no symptoms. Like every other parent that I know out there including myself, that is huge.”

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month showed that a quarter of parents would vaccinate their children right away.

“For my kids, as soon as they’re approved, I will allow them to get vaccinated,” said Columbia father Moe Lonergan.

While another quarter of parents would definitely not get their child vaccinated.

“No, because we’re strictly holistic. I feel like that’s our vaccine,” said Columbia mother Aisha Pollard.

Four in ten parents said that they would wait and see.

“We will check with my children’s doctor. Then we will make a decision about taking the vaccination,” said another Columbia father, Praveen Reddy.

Even some grandparents are excited about the news of the Pfizer trials.

“I have one grandson in that age group. I would certainly recommend that he takes it. I have to go with science,” said Midlands resident Edward Sutton.

Local pediatricians believe this vaccine for ages 5 to 11 is the quickest way to end the pandemic by reaching herd immunity.

Currently, just over half of eligible South Carolina residents are fully vaccinated.

“I think it will largely be a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Lonergan said. “If people don’t get enough shots in their arms, it will drag on.”

Across the country, the CDC says that 55 percent of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated with 64 percent having received at least one dose.

The Pfizer trials studied more than 2,200 participants and children are given a smaller dose of the vaccine than those given to adults.

In the meantime, Dr. Burch recommends everyone 12 and up getting vaccinated. She also reminds people that you are only considered fully immune two weeks after receiving that second dose.

Categories: Local News, Richland