Local medical experts praise the effectiveness of Pfizer’s shot in young children

Long Island medical experts on Friday welcomed Pfizer’s news that its vaccine appears to be nearly 91% safe and effective in preventing symptomatic infections in 5 to 11 year olds.

Experts said the widespread use of the vaccine in this age group would mark an important step in bringing or ending the pandemic.

“I think this is great news because it works and it is safe,” said Dr Mundeep Kainth, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “We hope this will bring us back to our normal school environments and it will be a step in reducing the mental health crisis we are seeing in children and children that has emerged since the pandemic. “

Details of the Pfizer vaccine study for children ages 5 to 11 were released on Friday as the United States plans to open up vaccinations to this age group.

Shooting could begin early next month, with the first children in the line fully protected by Christmas, if regulators give the green light. This would represent a major expansion of the country’s vaccination campaign, encompassing around 28 million school-aged young people.

Food and Drug Administration advisers will publicly debate the evidence next week. If the agency itself authorizes the injections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make the final decision on who should receive them.

Dr Uzma Syed, an infectious disease specialist at the Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Cneter in West Islip, also called the study’s results “good news” and said she was especially encouraged that they didn’t had not shown that the vaccine caused major side effects.

Although some children are not as badly affected by the virus as adults, a growing number of children are still infected and some are hospitalized or die, she said.

When unvaccinated children are infected, they “can still transmit the virus just as much, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic,” she said.

Kainth said another concern is that children will contract a “long VOC” – health problems that persist for months after a person is infected, even in people who initially had mild symptoms.

For parents hesitant to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, Kainth pointed out that they are already vaccinating their children against many other diseases such as chickenpox and measles which have far fewer cases circulating.

“If you are already vaccinating your children against other infectious diseases, it shouldn’t be any different,” she said. “We are in a pandemic and we want to make sure our children are safe. “

Full strength Pfizer injections are already permitted for anyone 12 years of age or older, but pediatricians and many parents eagerly await the protection of young children to stem the growing infections and record hospitalizations among them due to the delta extra variant. -contagious, and to help keep children in school.

Dr Andrew Handel, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told a Newsday webinar on Friday that given the level of safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, for parents “The safest thing … is to get it as soon as possible so that you can help your child avoid COVID infection.”

While children are at lower risk of serious illness or death than seniors, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans 18 and under, according to the CDC. Nearly 6.2 million children have been infected with the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the past six weeks as the delta variant has increased, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Moderna is also studying its COVID-19 snapshots in school-aged youth. Pfizer and Moderna are also studying even younger children, as young as 6 months old. The results are expected later this year.

Meanwhile, Long Island recorded 520 new daily cases of COVID-19 in Thursday’s test results: Nassau County recorded 200 cases, while Suffolk County had 320.

New York City has counted 859 new cases.

The seven-day average of test positivity continued to slowly decline on Long Island, falling to 2.34% in Thursday’s test results. The national average was 2.20%.

Statewide, 25 people died on Thursday from COVID-19-related causes, including three in Nassau and four in Suffolk.

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Sara H. Byrd

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