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Pfizer data shows vaccine safe and effective for younger children

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:25 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Pfizer and BioN-Tech announced some promising results in early studies of their COVID-19 vaccine for children.

For children ages 5-11, they’re reporting an even better immune response than what’s been seen in older children.

The data released on Monday is from a study of 2,268 children ages 5 to 11. The results show that the vaccine is safe and produced strong antibodies to fight the novel coronavirus.

For those who are in favor of vaccinating against COVID-19, it is good news.

“It will make me feel better to know that they’re being vaccinated,” said Edwina Sumrall, whose granddaughter attends Anniston Elementary in Gulfport. “And I feel it would be safer in the schools and in the public if they are vaccinated.”

Not everyone feels the same way about the vaccine. Cassandra Jackson has two children at Anniston Elementary School in Gulfport.

“Personally, I haven’t had it and I wouldn’t get one for them either. Personal choice,” she said.

While her children have received every other vaccine required to attend school, she said the COVID-19 vaccines don’t meet her standard.

“I am actually a medical professional and I feel like I’ve done my research concerning them, and I just don’t feel comfortable. I particularly don’t feel comfortable with them being mandated,” she said.

Dr. Tyler Sexton is a pediatrician with Singing River Health System. He reacted to the preliminary data with enthusiasm.

“It looks great, and I’ll be the first to get my daughter vaccinated,” he said. “She’s six years old, and I’ll be the first in line.”

The vaccine themselves, and especially recent mandates requiring vaccines, have made the question of getting a shot more than a medical question.

“I will tell you that I understand the fear of the new vaccine,” Sexton said. “But it’s been so highly politicized that we’ve lost the true focus of the positive scientific protection that it can provide”

Justin Peters has two children at Anniston and said he would be in favor of the vaccine for younger children, though one of his daughters has a heart condition that wouldn’t allow it.

“But the thought that her sister could get it, and since we have it, makes us a little more comfortable that she will be more protected,” he said.

Peters did say he struggles with contradictory reporting on data as it is released.

“I’m concerned about the ethics of the reporting,” he said. “I’ve seen studies saying both different claims. So if you have two studies, both citing different conclusions...which one do you trust?

“The more data I can have, the more comfortable I can be in making my decision.”

Pfizer will be sending its data to the FDA to be further studied, and any approval of the vaccine for children is still likely months away.

Sexton said he is hopeful.

“It’s the greatest shield we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19, and these kids with this variant,” he said. “Variants will continue to develop. It is the greatest protection you have for your children.”

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