WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The COVID-19 vaccine has been a topic of conversation for months. Soon more people could be eligible for the vaccination: children ages 5 to 11.
On Monday, Pfizer said early results from its vaccine trial show it is safe for children.
"This does not mean it's approved for use, but the data is out there and now it's up to the FDA to process it," Dr. Rutul Dalal said.
Dr. Rutul Dalal is the lead Infectious Disease Expert at UPMC Williamsport.
He says the trial used a smaller vaccine dosage, 10 micrograms instead of 30.
"The younger you are your immunity is more robust, so probably even a minute or microdose will elicit a strong antibody response," Dr. Dalal said.
Dr. Dalal says the trial is a big step in the right direction and happened at a good time.
"One in five cases, new cases of COVID are in the pediatric population. In fact, the cases have jumped up almost 230% over the last 4 to 5 weeks," Dr. Dalal said.
Dr. Dalal is aware of the hesitancy surrounding COVID-19 vaccines but says the risk of the vaccine's side effects is lower than the risk of COVID-19.
"The FDA usually takes a closer look especially in vaccines that are approved for pediatrics. I'm sure there won't be any stone left unturned to find the efficacy of this vaccine and the safety of this vaccine," Dr. Dalal said.
Pfizer is expected to submit the results of the trial to the Food and Drug Administration for review and possible emergency use authorization.
If the FDA grants that authorization, children ages 5 to11 could be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine later this year.