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COVID-19 vaccine delayed for children under 5, again

Virus Outbreak Military Vaccine
Posted at 4:28 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 16:28:17-05

The COVID-19 vaccine for kids under five is on hold again.

On Friday, the FDA said it was delaying an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine for children six months and up.

New data from Pfizer indicates while the vaccine appears safe, it may not work well enough to meet FDA standards.

“What we see, particularly among two- to five-year-olds, the data is not so compelling in terms of it being effective," said Eyal Oren, who runs the public health program at San Diego State University. "Meaning two doses did not promote an effective or strong immuno-response in these kids."

He says FDA officials say they want to wait on a decision until there is data available about a third dose of the vaccine.

Some doctors hope a vaccine is approved soon because kids are still sick.

“The younger the child, they could have difficulty breathing as that mucus gets in the lungs," said Dr. Joe Perno, the vice president of medical affairs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. "So breathing problems where they’re breathing fast, where it’s sucking in around their ribs, they’re panting, those types of things. Those are come see us in the emergency room right away."

He says it’s important to note how safe the vaccine has been in other age groups.

“There are over eight million kids in the U.S. alone that have received at least one dose of the vaccine over the age of five, and the safety profile is astronomical," said Perno.

The FDA hasn't said when it would review this topic again, but Pfizer said it would have data on the third dose available in April.