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Charlottesville pediatricians offer insight as Pfizer postpones request to approve vaccines for kids

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 10:41 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It’s going to take some more time before children between 6 months and 5 years of age can get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer was expected to ask for FDA approval next week, but instead is delaying it to gather more data on whether three doses of the vaccine is most effective.

Related: In reversal, FDA puts brakes on COVID shots for kids under 5

“We need it to show that the vaccine is effective before we give it, but we also just have a lot of empathy for families who are waiting and waiting,” said Dr. Paige Perriello, a pediatrician with the Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville.

Dr. Perriello said this shows the commitment to following the data, but acknowledges the disappointment from those families. She said this news comes after December data from Pfizer showed a two-dose series was safe, but didn’t mount an effective immune response.

“The hope is that the third dose would be enough for kids to mount an immune response that would make it an effective vaccine for them to give,” Perriello said.

“They’re getting the data and should have some of that data to share within the next two months,” said UVA Health Pediatrician Dr. Debbie-Ann Shirley.

Dr. Shirley said the delay will allow for a thorough review of the data.

“I think that what it’s showing us is that regulators and authorities are being careful and thoughtful,” Dr. Shirley said.

As we wait, Dr. Perriello said it’s a reminder that everyone else can, and should, do their part to keep those who can’t get vaccinated healthy.

“Healthcare workers, teachers, and essential workers of every kind are very tired. They are also parents and they are parents of kids in this age group,” Dr. Perriello said.

While we wait for approval for the youngest kids, pediatricians and the Blue Ridge Health District are still vaccinating kids older than five.

Click here for information on how to get vaccinated in the Blue Ridge Health District.

Click here for information on how to get vaccinated through UVA Health.

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