Young applauds Pfizer for announcing COVID vaccine is safe for younger children

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Director Dr. Sherri Young says Pfizer’s announcement that their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for younger children is a promising step in their efforts to protect more youth.

Dr. Sherri Young

In the coming weeks, Pfizer said it plans to ask the FDA to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in kids ages 5-11. The company tested kids in that age group and found the side effects were similar to what adults have experienced.

Children over the age of 12 are already eligible for the vaccine. Young said the process to approve vaccination use in younger kids has taken much longer.

“We’ve been looking at making sure that they get 100 percent efficacy, they’re fully protected, it’s safe and that we find that right titration. With kids, we want to take all the time in the world,” Young said. “It’s not about just getting the doses into arms. It’s about getting the right doses, the effective dose and something safe into their arms.”

Young was a guest on Monday’s “580 Live” heard on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS in Charleston.

The end of the approval process could be here before we know it, Young said.

“It’ll go before the FDA. They will make their recommendation. Then the CDC meets. There’s a group from the CDC called the ACIP, the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices. When they make that final recommendation, that’s our green light,” she explained.

If approved, Young said schools will continue to work to provide vaccination clinics for the younger students in elementary schools.

“We won’t be able to do everything in one day, but what we’ll do, for those who are eager to get it, we will have a clinic at KCHD and we will get out to each individual community,” she said. “It’ so important to get that access right in everybody’s backyard.”

Meanwhile, Young said FDA approval last week of a third dose of the vaccine for older residents should be seen soon in West Virginia.