Local health experts encourage COVID-19 vaccination for kids 5-11 following FDA approval

CSD says ‘vaccination is an important tool’ to combat COVID-19

A+file+photo+illustration+depicting+someone+with+a+Bandaid+reading+COVID-19+to+depict+the+experience+of+receiving+the+COVID-19+vaccine.+The+Food+and+Drug+Administration+has+recently+authorized+the+use+of+the+Pfizer+vaccine+on+kids+ages+5+to+11%2C+and+local+health+experts+and+the+Corvallis+School+District+are+seeking+to+inform+the+community+about+the+vaccines+benefits.+

Jessica Hume-Pantuso, Photo Editor

A file photo illustration depicting someone with a Bandaid reading “COVID-19” to depict the experience of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration has recently authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine on kids ages 5 to 11, and local health experts and the Corvallis School District are seeking to inform the community about the vaccine’s benefits.

Riley LeCocq, News Contributor

Due to community concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11, the Benton County Health Department and Corvallis School District hope to inform parents and caregivers about the benefits of vaccinating kids. 

On Oct. 29, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for use on children ages 5 to 11. The Emergency Use Authorization means that the vaccine has been approved by the FDA more quickly when compared to the traditional approval. Any EUA approval has been overseen and evaluated to the same safety and effectiveness standards as a traditionally approved drug, according to April Holland, the director and public health administrator for the Benton County Health Department. 

Prior to the drug’s approval, parents of children in the 5-to-11 age range expressed reservations about the need to vaccinate their children for COVID-19. 

“I don’t feel like children [ages] 5 to 11 should get it,” said Kimmie Misamore, a parent and caregiver of a seven-year-old in Corvallis, Ore. “If the vaccine does not prevent you from getting it, it’s just supposed to lessen the symptoms, what is the point of it?” 

Holland hopes to communicate more information to parents and community members about the vaccine in the face of these concerns.

A photo illustration depicting a child who is a COVID-19 vaccine superhero. Though some parents are concerned about having their children ages 5 to 11 be vaccinated against COVID-19, representatives from Benton County Health Department and the Corvallis School District say there are many benefits of it. (H. Beck & Matthew McKenna, Illustrator & Photographer)

“Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to being a smaller dose than the vaccine for adults, is a different formulation,” Holland said in an email. “Children under 12 will not be receiving the same medicine as adults have been… the pediatric vaccine would be given in two 10-microgram doses administered 21 days apart. This dosage is one-third of the adolescent and adult dose.”

Holland also noted the vaccine’s safety has been tested thoroughly with side effects of the shot being similar to the adult dose, with rare chances of any severe repercussions following vaccination. 

“Vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, help to provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases,” Holland said. “Research has found that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and incredibly effective at protecting from the worst outcomes of COVID-19.” 

Now with the official approval of the vaccine use for children ages 5 to 11 years old, concerns about how this will impact caregiver’s lives and the community have risen as well. 

“If it becomes mandatory, a lot of people will end up losing their jobs because a lot of parents will pull their kids out of school if it is mandatory,” Misamore said. 

The systems most impacted by the approval, like the CSD, are supporting vaccination of children in the community. 

CSD Superintendent Ryan Noss said the school district’s first priority is to keep the schools open throughout this challenging time and continue to provide in-person instruction. 

Noss acknowledged, as many students have experienced in the past two years, that in-person learning is essential to academic success for students of all age ranges. 

Vaccination is one of the most important tools that we have to combat COVID-19 and is a long standing strategy against pandemics and infectious diseases,” Noss said.

Holland said she hopes to convey to cautious community members that the vaccine is safe for children just as it has been for adolescents and adults. She and the Benton County Health Department encourage individuals to talk with their provider for specifics on their child’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and risks. 

“Having children vaccinated against COVID-19 helps prevent kids from getting COVID-19, reduces the spread, can help stop other variants from emerging and helps protect those in our community,” Noss said.