HOUSTON — Pfizer hopes its COVID-19 vaccine will be available to some children in time for the next school year.
Pfizer announced it submitted clinical trial data for adolescents 12 to 15 years old to the FDA for emergency use authorization. The drugmaker says its COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in preventing all symptoms of the virus after completing a clinical trial with 2,300 adolescent participants.
While many see the shot as a way to get students safely back in the classroom, others wonder why they need a vaccine if most kids show mild or no symptoms.
“That’s probably the biggest concern that everyone is expressing, not only parents but people involved in the trials,” said Dr. Michael Chang, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at UTHealth.
Chang said most children aren’t seriously affected by the coronavirus, but some are. In rare cases, older teenagers have been hospitalized with MIS-C.
The CDC has been monitoring clusters of cases across the country centered around youth sports.
“When you look into the details of these outbreaks, it’s not necessarily the on-field activities. It’s in the locker room, warming up, where you’re less likely to have your mask but you’re still indoors and in close proximity,” Chang said.
Chang said getting kids immunized protects them and everyone they come in contact with.
“Each person who is infected is someone who can spread it to someone else. Each person who is infected is someone who could be really ill,” he said.
When Pfizer submitted for emergency-use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for adults, it took about a month for the FDA to grant the authorization. Chang says the FDA advisory committee may ask for more safety data this time around since it involves pediatric patients.
Pfizer said it hopes to have shots available to teens by the fall.