Wake County parent 'elated' COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 closer to reality

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- An FDA advisory panel has endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.

This would be the first COVID-19 vaccine for children in that age group.

"I'm elated, I cannot wait," said Christina Jones, the mother of two children, ages 6 and 7. "I let them know. They said, 'Are we going to get the shot?' And I was like, 'Yep, I've had both of them. It doesn't feel like anything; you'll be fine."

Jones also has multiple sclerosis.

"I don't want to get sick, I don't want to catch it either, so it's really good that they'll be able to have that vaccine," said Jones, who has already made an appointment for her children at a north Raleigh pharmacy.

If the FDA follows the panel's advice, all but the youngest of Americans will have access to the vaccine.

"By immunizing children, leaving aside the direct benefit to them, we will help society by decreasing the circulation of COVID and decrease the risks to everybody, " said Dr. David Weber, an infectious diseases specialist at UNC Health. "We know more about this vaccine at this time than any other vaccine we've licensed at the time we've licensed it because hundreds of millions of people around the world have received this vaccine, so it's not new, it's not experimental."

Weber does worry about a couple of things moving forward. One is the "twindemic" of the flu and COVID-19 upcoming as well as the widening gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

He said he also believes it will take another six months or so for the vaccines to be approved for the even younger subset of the population -- the 6 months to 5-year-old set.

A CDC panel is expected to convene next week.

"I'm getting for my daughter to get vaccinated because watching her go through school with some level of hesitancy is hard," said John Scarborough, parent of a 6-year-old. "We trust the science, we believe in how well this vaccine works, and we're just glad it's finally coming out for them."
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