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CDC Approves Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine for Pediatric Use

The US is about to get started with Covid-19 vaccination for kids as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presents a green signal to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. This vaccine can be administered to young children for protection from the existing and expected strains of Covid variants.

Until the first week of November, children between the ages of 5 and 11 could only be safeguarded through means like social distancing and masks.  With Pfizer’s vaccines, they will have a substantially increased level of security. As is the case with the way the vaccines work for adults, the Covid-19 vaccines for children will help them build immunity to fight the virus.

Young child with face mask getting vaccinated, coronavirus, covid-19 and vaccination concept.

What is the difference between Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for kids and adults?

The purpose of Pfizer’s vaccine is to prevent individuals from getting infected by Covid-19, and there is a significant difference between the vaccines for kids and adults. The differences can be detected in the formulations offered to kids, teens, and adults.

The dosage for Pfizer’s Covid vaccine showcases the most notable difference in formulation administered to children and adults. The dosage given to kids has one-third of the strength given to adults.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 contains a lower dose of about 10 micrograms. For older children and adults, the dosage offered is about 30 micrograms. In addition to differences in dose and strength, the needle size for each group varies.  Smaller needles are used for children compared to those used for adults. The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine formulation components are similar for children ages 12 to 15 and for individuals 16 and above.

How does the CDC recommend it, what are their official recommendations?

Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccines for kids from 5 to 11, 12 to 17, and older individuals have been approved by the CDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone from 5 years of age and above is vaccinated to fight Covid-19.

The federal government is extending free Covid-19 doses to all children and adults eligible to get vaccinated. However, the CDC recommends that parents check with their healthcare provider before getting their child vaccinated. You can also contact your state, local or territorial health department to get appointments or information about vaccination walk-ins in your area.

The dosage is not subject to the patient’s weight but only varies based on the age of the recipient on the day of vaccination. Every child getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will need a second shot three weeks after the first one.

How must pediatric vaccines be stored differently from adult vaccine storage?

The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines for kids require different storage facility specifications than those for the adult vaccine. The vaccine packaging also varies: orange capped vials are for children between 5 to 11 years, and those with purple caps are for adolescents and adults above 12 years of age.

Each vial contains ten doses of the vaccine and requires 1.3 mL of diluent as per Pfizer’s preliminary plan. The vaccinatines require an ultra-cold storage facility for six months or ten weeks storage in a refrigerator.

The ultra-cold Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are shipped from the manufacturing unit in thermal shippers packed with dry ice. To make sure that the shipper has adequate temperature conditions, a GPS-enabled digital data logger is installed, according to this Dickson article.

The data logger assists with prompt monitoring of temperature conditions and has sensors that can detect out-of-range ultra-cold temperatures. Data loggers offer continuous administration, and their memory chips can be used to trace the temperature history of the shipping and storage facilities.

Since the vaccines are extremely sensitive to temperature, it becomes crucial to carefully ship, store and handle them. Maintaining the cold chain of storage for Pfizer’s pediatric Covid-19 vaccines is the deciding factor for the sustenance of the potency of these vaccines.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children has a different buffer than that used for vaccines administered to older children and adults. This buffer is FDA approved and keeps the vaccine in a stable, refrigerated temperature for long periods.

As per regulations given by the CDC and Pfizer-BioNTech, the vaccine must be used within six hours of puncturing the vial, and the thawed vaccines must not be put back in the freezer. The storage facility must not be disturbed, and the vials must not be taken out of storage unless they are to be administered.

The vaccines are vulnerable to pressure, humidity, temperature change, and physical damage. The slightest change in any of these factors can cause significant loss of units. Therefore, it is essential for hospitals, pharmacies, healthcare, transportation, and storage facilities to hire trained staff for handling the vials.

How is my child eligible for it?

Beaumont’s Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease has stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Although the CDC recommends everyone to get vaccinated, it is natural for parents to have questions about getting their children vaccinated. Some of the points that can guide you are:

  1. Your child must be of 5 years of age or above on the day of vaccination. The vaccine formulations proposed for children below five years of age are yet to get approval.
  2. If Covid recently infected your child, you must wait until they recover and complete their post-isolation period as recommended by their doctor.
  3. If your child has any underlying disease, infection, or allergies, parents are advised to consult your doctor and get their approval for vaccination.
  4. After the first dose, it is necessary to wait for 21 days before getting the second one. Any dosage taken before 17 days from the first dose will be considered invalid, and your child will have to get another shot after the time recommended by the healthcare expert.

According to current research, the new Pfizer-BiotNTech Covid-19 vaccines for kids are highly effective and safe for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics constantly urges children and adults to get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Noticing the rise in cases and the probabilities of delta and delta plus variants affecting more kids, getting vaccinated is the most effective way to remain protected against the impact of the virus.