“This will lead to more kids going to school because you don’t have to quarantine if you’re vaccinated,” said Dr. Newland.
NS. LOUIS — When the calendar flips to November, children ages 5 and older may be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID, and the White House has set a goal to complete this before Christmas.
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“I was very excited to hear that,” said Dr. Keith Moll, a pediatrician at SSM Health. “I know this is the next step we have to take, I have no doubt about it.”
“We’re doing this, and we’re doing this well. We’re going to protect so many more people and save so many more lives,” said Dr. Jason Newland, a pediatrician at Washington University Hospital. “We can talk about how great it is to go to concerts, restaurants, ball games and have the comfort of knowing it’s super, super safe.”
As federal regulators weigh in on the data, it looks like the Pfizer vaccine will be available to children first, and it’s a little different from the shot approved for parents.
“The dose for children ages 5 to 11 will be a smaller dose, so the vaccine won’t be as concentrated,” said Dr. moll.
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The injection itself is given with a smaller needle, making it less painful for children.
“The vaccine is put into a muscle,” said Dr. Newland. “Children don’t have the same muscle mass, so you don’t need such a large needle. You just have to make sure that the needle gets into the muscle and that you deliver the vaccine into the muscle.”
Although the side effects are expected to be about the same as those seen in adults.
“Still those same headaches,” said Dr. Newland. “I don’t feel well, I’m in pain and I have a fever.”
There is an additional side effect that can make many parents happy.
“This will lead to more kids going to school because you don’t have to quarantine if you’re vaccinated,” said Dr. Newland. “That will also translate to this age group. I think it’s very possible that we can start the talks about forgoing risk mitigation strategies like masks.”
Many local hospitals, including SSM Health, already allow parents to make appointments for their children to be vaccinated.