Hope for children's COVID-19 vaccines after FDA approves Pfizer

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Posted at 6:38 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 18:51:34-04

The FDA’s Monday morning approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine means the shot has passed the highest scientific hurdle in the United States. It’s approved, completely, for everyone ages 16 and up.

Carla and Shawn Nason are hopeful the next step will be creating and approving shots for younger children like their 6-year-old son, Kolby.

“For him to get with something like COVID, or for either one of us to have the disease and then have to be hospitalized, it would be extremely traumatic for him,” Carla said Monday.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said he believes vaccines for younger children are coming. The FDA will continue to review existing vaccines to ensure they have final approval for patients 12-15.

Shots for even younger children like Kolby will likely follow a similar process: Creation, evaluation, emergency use authorization and final approval.

“(It is) to the FDA's credit that they continue to move through a thoughtful, deliberate and careful process of completely all the steps that they have committed to in their approval process,” Vanderhoff said.

Ohio’s children’s hospitals are seeing an unseasonable uptick of respiratory illnesses in children, and the current increase of COVID cases means some doctors worry capacity could become an issue.

Vanderhoff and Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, chief of staff at Cincinnati Children’s, said masking and distancing are the best parents can do for children too young to get a vaccine.

Manning-Courtney added that patients with nonemergency complaints can help preserve hospital capacity by seeking treatment from a primary care doctor rather than a hospital.

“I’m very hopeful” for the future, said Carla Nason. “But I'm cautiously optimistic."