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Midlands pediatrician, parents react to FDA delaying review on COVID vaccines for kids under 5

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Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 11:42 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -Parents with children under 5 will have to wait a little longer before they’re able to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

This comes after the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday paused efforts to speed the review of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for that age group.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said that the agency needs to review data on an ongoing trail of a third dose for this age group before moving forward with an emergency use authorization.

Data on that third dose is expected in early April.

The FDA was supposed to meet this upcoming Tuesday to discuss whether a two-dose regimen should be authorized.

Midlands parents that WIS spoke to on Friday expressed a range of reactions.

Some said they want more information before making a decision to vaccinate their children, others are firmly against the vaccine, and a few are so eager to get their children vaccinated that they’re discouraged by this delay.

“I wish they would speed that process up and help protect our children,” Kristal Jones, who has a grandson under 5, said. “Because if they’re sick, then the parents are out. It’s a chain reaction. My child’s sick, gets your child sick, then my daughter stays home and it hurts the economy and it hurts so many people when they’re not able to get vaccinated.”

Jones is concerned because her grandson is at high-risk. He has asthma, and already had COVID-19 once.

“It was a mild case, but we didn’t even really know that he had it because of the types of symptoms that he had so if he had that protection, then I would feel better.”

Another parent said she won’t get her son vaccinated because she feels the process has been rushed from the start.

Dr. Deborah Greenhouse, a Columbia-based pediatrician, said the delay should not alarm anyone.

“I think this actually should really reassure people that the process is unfolding the way that it is supposed to, that everyone is doing their due diligence to make sure that we’re doing the right thing when we put this vaccine out on the market,” she said.

Greenhouse said it’s not a matter of if the vaccine for young children will be approved, but when.

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“The vaccine, they’re going to get there,” she said. “But they want to make sure that they’ve looked at enough data, that they have enough data.”

In the meantime, Greenhouse said, parents must not let their guards down.

“We are still seeing kids test positive in our office every day,” she said. “Some of them, not particularly sick, some of them quite sick and some of them are coming in weeks later still sick. So we still need to take this seriously.”

As the FDA continues to gather more data, Greenhouse said it’s important for parents of young children to rely on some common pandemic preventative measures like masking in crowded indoor spaces, distancing whenever possible and ensuring those around these children are vaccinated.

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