Late Tuesday evening, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5–11. This decision followed the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization on Friday, Oct. 29th. That means that if you have a child 5 years of age or older, they can receive this specific safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Finally!
Safety and Efficacy
The vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization and has been thoroughly studied. FDA released data that showed just how well this vaccine works. In this clinical trial, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in children 5 through 11. That’s very effective.
But what about safety? More good news: No serious side effects have been reported in the study. Mild side effects were reported, including fever, chills, muscle aches, redness and swelling at the injection site, and fatigue. These side effects were generally worse after the second dose, but went away within 1-2 days. The FDA base their decisions by weighing the benefits against the risks of any therapy, including vaccines, such as the one for COVID-19.
Additionally, there were children with T1D among the clinical trial participants and no side effects related to T1D were reported.
COVID-19 and T1D
T1D is classified as a comorbidity by the CDC. This has led to the T1D community having priority access to vaccines since their authorization months ago. Adults with T1D are at higher risk for serious complications when infected by the virus causing COVID-19, and JDRF encourages everyone, including people with T1D, to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
To date, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 or the vaccine increase the likelihood of developing T1D.
Should My Child Get the Vaccine?
This vaccine is safe. It works as intended. Children, including those with T1D, can significantly decrease their risk of serious COVID-19 complications by receiving this vaccine.
“Adults with T1D are at higher risk for serious complications when infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Thanks to vaccines, we can dramatically decrease the risk of these complications for the T1D community,” said Sanjoy Dutta, Ph.D., JDRF Vice President, Research. “JDRF applauds Pfizer/BioNTech for developing this vaccine and the CDC and FDA for authorizing and recommending this vaccine for use in this new age group.”
What Comes Next?
Clinical trials for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in children ages 6 months to 4 years old are ongoing.