FDA authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11


Infographic by Ava Cordella '24

Despite mask mandates and other COVID-19 prevention procedures, children are still vulnerable to the virus.

Starting Nov. 4, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be available to children 5-11 years of age. 

The vaccine will be administered in two dosages. Each dose is a reduced 10 milligrams in comparison to the 30 milligram dosage given to 12 year olds and older. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine given to 5-11 year olds will be administered three weeks after the first dose. 

Through a series of tests on 3,100 children in this age category, the vaccine has been proven to be 90.7% effective for preventing positive cases of COVID-19. Within this study, the Pfizer vaccine has also been shown to have no major side effects on children. The most common side effects are minor, including a sore arm, headache, and fatigue, that all last on average one to two days.

“Our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data pertaining to the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness should help assure parents and guardians that this vaccine meets our high standards,” Janet Woodcock, M.D and acting FDA Commissioner said in an article from the FDA.

I mean, if it’s going to get us to not wear masks and just going back to normal somewhat, we’re all down for it.

— Sophia Ocampo ’23

Anna Fitzpatrick RN, BA BSN, a staff nurse at Staples High School, is optimistic that positive changes will come with the availability of the Pfizer vaccine to younger children.

“It will help curb transmission in that age group,” Fitzpatrick said. “Hopefully, it will also decrease quarantining students in the younger grades following exposure. At the high school level, we do not quarantine students if they are vaccinated.”

Alexis Donnerstag, mother to sons Wynn (6), a student at SES, and Hugh (4) says she will have her children vaccinated eventually, especially after Wynn received a positive COVID test with no symptoms earlier this year.

“I believe I need to wait 90 days from the positive test before Wynn can be vaccinated,” Donnerstag said. “Wynn’s younger brother, Hugh, is still 4 until late December, so I will also have to wait to get him vaccinated. This doesn’t bother me since I probably would have waited a couple months anyway.”

Staples student, Sophia Ocampo ’23, says her sister, Saray Ocampo (8), a student at KHS, will try and get the vaccine like the rest of their family.

“I mean, if it’s going to get us to not wear masks and just going back to normal somewhat,” Ocampo said, “we’re all down for it.”