PHOENIX — Kids under the age of 5 and as young as 6 months old may be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. by the end of February if Food and Drug Administration regulators find the vaccines are both safe and effective.
Earlier this week, Pfizer submitted a request for emergency use authorization but there are still questions many families have on how many doses will be required.
The FDA is expected to eventually sign off on three doses for kids under 5, but regulators believe two doses should provide enough protection while that decision is being made.
My kids mean the world to me
Valley nurse and mother of three Rachel Guthrie's entire life was changed when she was pregnant with her first child.
"I'm known for saying that once you become pregnant, your life is no longer just about you," said Guthrie. “My thoughts are always about them. My choices are always about them and their well-being, happiness and safety.”
All of her kids are under the age of five.
“It's scary going into work these days. The numbers are rising," said Guthrie. "We’ve had to make routine changes. Make sure everything gets wiped down. I will change before I leave the hospital and obviously shower before I get home and interact with the kids.”
The FDA advisory committee is reviewing the data on February 15.
Kids got vaccinated before the pandemic, nothing has changed
Dr. Gary Kirkilas with the American Academy of Pediatrics says this vaccine has gone through the same rigorous testing as others.
“I try to liken it to the other childhood vaccines that we have," said Kirkalis. “We do not see kids in wheelchairs due to polio. This is another safe and effective vaccine that we have that can dramatically reduce your risk for hospitalization or getting the infection in the first place.”
More pediatric patients have been infected with COVID-19 as new variants like the highly contagious Omicron variant quickly became dominant across the country.
To trust or not to trust
There is no question that trust has become fleeting with the amount of disinformation surrounding the vaccines.
A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found only three in 10 parents would allow their kids to get vaccinated in that age group right away.
“Of course, parents are going to need reassurance and I think now in our digital age we are getting medical advice from every corner and not trusted medical advice," said Dr. Kirkals. "I always tell my parents to have a trusted conversation with your pediatrician. Have all your questions answered. That's why we're here.”
Rachel already has her answer based on science and trust in the experts she works alongside. “The pediatrician I work with on a daily basis all are for this vaccine," said Guthrie. "It makes sense to give them that layer of protection. We are all in. We are excited.”
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