JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More shots could soon be going into arms after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel gave the green light to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11.
Tuesday's vote was the start of a process for which many First Coast parents have been waiting.
The two-shot Pfizer vaccine under review for children ages 5 to 11 is one-third of the dosage used for teens and adults. When fully vaccinated, local infectious disease specialist Dr. Mohammed Reza says, it will prevent 90% of symptomatic infections.
“This is awesome news for me as a parent. Having children that age, we've been doing a lot of distance schooling and distance learning," Reza explained.
He says he’s been taking extra precautions with his children, ages 3 and 4, as they have waited for their chance to get the shot.
They are actually participating in UF Health Jacksonville’s Moderna COVID-19 trial and received their first dose Monday.
Reza believes the amount of protection the Pfizer vaccine can give to young children is important in the fight against coronavirus.
“Even if your child is asymptomatic, initially, they can have long haul or symptoms," Reza said. "So, this vaccine is just a game-changer when it comes to preventing even that symptomatic infection."
The vote to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is the first step in the process for the two-shot regimen, which could allow the age group to get their first shots in early November and become fully vaccinated by early December.
However, before that happens, the FDA has to officially sign off. Then, a Center for Disease Control panel will meet next Tuesday to discuss the same data before authorizing the vaccine.