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What the COVID-19 vaccine for children means for Bakersfield

Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 21:31:27-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Pfizer is asking for an emergency use authorization for children ages 5-11, becoming the first of the three major vaccines to seek approval for this age group.

According to Kids Data, Kern County has 71,617 children from the ages 6-10. This would mean it would impact roughly around 80,000 children.

The FDA is expected to review the submission and clinical data results on Oct. 26. One local pediatrician says we should expect an answer two to three weeks after that.

Kelly Hughes, a pediatrician at Omni Family Health, explains the science behind it.

“The reason that kids need smaller doses is because their body is designed to create immunity, not just for right now but for their whole life. Their body is already trying, that is what they do, that is why we vaccinate when they are younger because we don’t want to see any kids dying from any vaccine preventable diseases,” Hughes said.

Hughes says in Kern County there are parents who are eager for this to be approved and parents who say they want to wait longer because they believe the process has been too fast.

She explains why that is not the case: “They are dropping everything else that they are doing, to get this approved. Not expedited in taking shortcuts. They are not taking shortcuts; they are just leaving everything else be and making sure that getting this life saving vaccine to the public is as quickly as possible safely.”

So far, the formula will be the same. The plan is to give the age group of 5-11 two doses, three weeks apart just like adults, but each dose will be one third of what adults get.

Hughes says that can of course change after FDA reviews the data.

The dosage and plans for rollout are all preliminary and can change after the FDA reviews the information. If the FDA approves it in late October, it also does not mean California’s vaccine mandate for students kicks in, as this emergency use authorization would not be the full approval needed.