COLORADO SPRINGS — In the months since May 2021, there have been two noticeable jumps in the number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered when looking on the El Paso County Public Health Vaccine Dashboard.
The first, more substantial jump, came after the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to be used for teenagers ages 12-15 years in early May.
The second came after the FDA gave full approval for the same vaccine in early August 2021.
Pfizer’s recent announcement that its vaccine is safe for children ages five to eleven years old gives public health experts hope for a similar increase in vaccination numbers, should the FDA agree with the results of the company’s second and third phase trials.
“As a mom and pediatrician, I’m thrilled to hear that,” said Dr. Elisabeth Vanse, a pediatrician and medical director of pediatrics at Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado Springs.
The trial of 2,200 children from ages five until 11 years old used doses with one-third of the amount of what is administered to adults and children ages 12 and older. Pfizer is reporting similar levels of antibodies from those doses as compared those 16-25 years old, and similar flu-like side effects of fatigue, headaches, and others.
The company proposes the same two-dose regimen timed three weeks apart.
Approval can greatly limit quarantines in elementary schools.
“We know that when kids get together, they spread diseases,” Vanse said in reference to a recent resurgence in RSV in kids at the start of the school year. “We want kids to go to school, we want them to have activities. It’s hard on parents, it’s hard on teachers, it’s hard on the kids to do school at home.”
Regulations from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment lay out protocols for quarantine that state students in classrooms and groups can avoid quarantines by masks and vaccination rates above 70%.
Locally, 20 children under the age of nine have been hospitalized since the beginning of summer, according to EPCPH.
Across the country, 300 kids are being admitted to the hospital each day, according to Fox News’s medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel.
“I think [the vaccine] is a really important tool,” Siegel told the network.
Pfizer expects to file for emergency use authorization by the end of the month, with approval potentially slated for October.
Not soon enough for Colorado Democratic Governor Jared Polis, “Given that the country is currently experiencing a pandemic, the FDA should cancel their weekend plans and postpone other agenda items to meet immediately to review the data. And if the vaccine is found effective and safe for children aged five through 11, as it already is for everyone aged 12 and above, the FDA should move forward right away with approval. We want to end the pandemic now and there is no time to waste,” Polis said Monday.