Young kids getting Pfizer vaccine may not reach full vaccination by start of school year

Children under the age of 5 are the last unvaccinated group.
Children under the age of 5 are the last unvaccinated group. Photo credit Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – Young kids could get a COVID-19 vaccine within days, now that the FDA has authorized the shot for infants and toddlers.

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The approval of the new vaccine marks a significant milestone in the more than two-year pandemic, as the last age group of unvaccinated people in the world can now get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

"This is huge for many parents," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, Director of the Tobacco Treatment Clinic and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on KCBS Radio's "Ask an Expert" with Melissa Culross and Jason Brooks on Friday.

"We can feel like we can finally join the rest of the world as we’re moving forward in this pandemic," he said.

The vaccine authorization comes after a lengthy period of manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna being forced to prolong their research and testing phases before finally submitting for approval.

"Many of us have been going around this song and dance a little bit of promises to get it approved and then taking it back," said Galiatsatos.

But now that the final step has been taken, parents can start thinking about getting their children vaccinated.

Both Moderna and Pfizer have vaccines available, and parents will have to decide which one to get.

"They're both great," he said, adding that some parents, perhaps in more rural communities, might not have the option to choose, and shouldn't worry about one necessarily being better than the other.

A key difference between the two, is that to be fully vaccinated with Moderna, children need two shots, while with Pfizer they would need three shots.

This is important to consider because by the time everything is processed, and the vaccines begin being distributed to the general public, children who are given Pfizer may not be fully vaccinated by the time the new school year starts.

"Because of the timing, they have to wait a month, and then an additional month for the third shot," said Galiatsatos. "So parents will need to take that into account."

"Parents should understand, the completion of the series means they're fully vaccinated," he said. "One out of two Moderna is not, two out of three Pfizer is not."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images