Pediatrician warns against off-label vaccine doses

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – We hear from a local pediatrician who is considering the use and recommendations around approved vaccines such as the Pfizer vaccine.

This week, Pfizer announced that a reduced dose of its vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11, but that has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and CDC.

dr. Keith Seibert, a pediatrician at SouthCoast Health, says inquiries are coming in from parents who want their children vaccinated but they are just outside the approved age range. With Pfizer announcing this week that their reduced-dose vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11, those questions may become more and more common for pediatricians.

“These are very well-intentioned questions, well-intentioned questions. But certainly by the end of the day I’ve had patients or parents ask me if I had any doses left in one of my vaccine vials, if I could give it to their 11-and-a-half year old or their 11 year old. . And I understand, I know where their hearts are,” said Dr. Seibert.

But dr. Seibert says it’s important for people to realize that administering doses off-label, or outside of FDA and CDC recommended and approved uses, isn’t a good idea.

“I understand that people want to protect their children. The process of evaluating the right dose, at the right time, on the right schedule is important.”

dr. Seibert also explained why it can be dangerous to give even a reduced dose to children before guidelines for exact amounts are established.

“Their immune systems are different, they react differently. If you give too little, you may not see any effect at all, you can raise awareness. If you give too much, you may see too many side effects without a good risk-benefit ratio.”

dr. Seibert says he encourages parents with children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated to be patient and wait for the scientists to finally give the green light.

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