The FDA is now reviewing data from a Covid-19 vaccine trial in kids 5 to 11 years old. Pfizer submitted its trial results to the FDA Tuesday in hopes of getting emergency use authorization (EUA).
While that decision could take a few more weeks, there are already questions a lot of them about the vaccine. Dr. Ohm Deshpande from Yale New Haven Health sat down with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran to discuss the latest developments.
Dan: "Back when the vaccines first were under review for adults, there were concerns about how quickly those trials went. Now, there are concerns about how quickly it was tested in kids. Is this trial a normal length under these circumstances, or was it rushed?"
Dr. Deshpande: "I think it has actually been done in a very intentional way in, in many cases, people have asked why it's taken so long, actually. But the way in which the company Pfizer designed the trials, as well as the input that they took from the FDA was actually very intentional, well designed. Specifically, they, they, you know, they tested a number of different doses for immunity, they started with older kids within the larger population and tested the dose tested the efficacy. And with each evidence of success, they went on to younger kids to really ensure that they were able to identify any potential safety effects in the older kids who are more likely to manage any of those side effects. It was done in a timely fashion. But it also was not rushed, actually."
Dan: "So what's your message to parents who are right now on the fence about this, they might be worried there might not be enough information about the long-term impacts?"
Dr. Deshpande: "I think that again, we are we need to wait for to get all the data and to have those data publicized and the FDA needs to do that review. But, you know, again, I think the message is the same that in general, these vaccines are incredibly safe in preventing the spread of Covid-19, especially as many of us parents are concerned as our kids go back to school. This is really another extremely effective way to protect them to reduce you know, their risk in school to reduce the likelihood that they'll have to stay home from school and experience another sort of disrupted school year. And this is how we really double down on the progress that we've made in the state of Connecticut and our geographic region."
Dan: "Let's talk a little bit more about the effectiveness of this vaccine in children. Will the 5 to 11 age group be getting a different kind of shots? Or is it the same one that US adults got?"
Dr. Deshpande: "Sure it's this they're the exact same ingredients, it's just the dosage of the vaccine is lower. So whereas in the adult formulation, there are 30 micrograms of mRNA and that is the active part of the vaccine that generates the immunity in the pediatric vaccine. It's a lower dose of mRNA because they found that even that lower dose generates a fairly strong immunity in the kids conferring an equivalent amount of protection with less risk of the side effects, you know, again to make schools as safe as possible. Pediatric vaccination makes all the sense in the world."