Approval for vaccines for children ages 5-11 could come through as early as Nov. 4
By RACHEL SHEY — firstname.lastname@example.org
On Nov. 1, Yolo County Public Health Officer Aimee Sisson gave information on COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 during an online town hall event held on Zoom and Facebook Live, hosted by Yolo County and Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE). Sisson gave context explaining why it’s important for children to be vaccinated, as well as answered questions from audience members regarding the vaccine for children.
“Our case rate for Yolo County is starting to rise,” Sisson said. “This is not the place in the pandemic where any of us wanted to be. We all thought our case rate would be coming down once vaccines became available, that our economy could reopen, that everything could go back to normal sooner than it has. Unfortunately we’ve seen an uptick in our case rate over the last two weeks.”
Part of this uptick is attributed to a rising case rate in children ages zero to 17, Sisson said. Adults 18 to 64 are experiencing declining case rates, as are adults 65 and older.
“We broke that down further in the child population and found that the case rate is increasing for all groups but is actually highest among children six to 11,” Sisson said. “This is good news when we think about the fact that we’re about to have a vaccine for children in this age group.”
Some attendees wondered about whether it was truly necessary for children to receive the vaccine. Since children are less likely than adults to die from or experience severe symptoms of COVID-19, they were wondering why the vaccine is beneficial, considering its possible side effects. Sisson explained that children can still die from COVID-19.
“Although deaths from COVID-19 are rare among children, we do see children dying from COVID-19,” Sisson cautioned. “Across the United States, during the pandemic, 791 children ages zero to 17 have died from COVID-19, and 172 of these were between the ages of five and 11.”
Other severe diseases can arise from COVID-19 infection in children, according to Sisson, including “the possibility of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children of MISC. This is a severe inflammatory disease that occurs two to six weeks after infection with COVID-19, and 60% to 70% of children who are affected by MISC end up needing hospitalization in the intensive care unit. Over 5000 cases of MISC have occurred in our children across the United States to date.”
Some children are also affected by “long COVID-19,” Sisson explained.
“A large study of children in the U.K. found that approximately 8% of children continue to have symptoms more than three months after their initial diagnosis,” Sisson said.
According to a press release from Pfizer and BioNTech, the vaccine has 90.7% efficacy in children five to 11.
“The antibody responses in the participants given 10 µg doses were comparable to those recorded in a previous Pfizer-BioNTech study in people 16 to 25 years of age immunized with 30 µg doses,” the press release reads. “The 10 µg dose was carefully selected as the preferred dose for safety, tolerability and immunogenicity in children 5 to 11 years of age.”
Three out of the seven steps necessary to get the vaccine to Yolo County schoolchildren have been completed, according to Sisson.
“Pfizer has applied for emergency-use authorization for the FDA, it was recommended for emergency-use authorization, and the FDA issued an emergency-use authorization,” Sisson said. “We’re now waiting for the CDC to recommend the vaccine. We expect this approval to come through by the end of this week, potentially as early as November 4.”
The Yolo County press release concerning the event states that the COVID-19 vaccine will be one of the mandated vaccinations required for school.
“On October 1, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California would become the first state to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required for school,” the press release reads. “Implementation of the vaccine mandate would not occur until the vaccines receive full FDA approval, which is not expected soon.”
Written by: Rachel Shey — email@example.com