After initially being authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 29, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages 5 to 11 in Rhode Island. Pfizer’s vaccine will require two doses three weeks apart from each other and are administered at a lower dosage. The dosage is lower than it is for those in higher age groups.
One frequently asked question is whether the vaccine is safe for children. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), the vaccine is indeed safe for those in this age group, with the state-run website saying, “Safety is a top priority. COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials with people of different ages, races, ethnicities, and people with different health conditions to make sure they are safe.”
The RIDOH further explains, “No steps involving safety have been skipped—COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same standards as other vaccines to make sure they are safe. To ensure the safety of all vaccines in the United States, there is a rigorous vaccine development and approval process. Once a vaccine is available for use, there are additional systems in place to continue to ensure safety.”
The FDA also explained the process of ensuring the vaccine is safe and effective in their press release announcing the authorization:
Effectiveness: Immune responses of children 5 through 11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16 through 25 years of age. In addition, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.
Safety: The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.
The vaccine will also require no cost regardless of the location it’s administered at. Dozens of upcoming vaccination clinics by school districts can be seen here. Every state-run vaccination site will also start administering the vaccine to those in this age group. Additionally, the RIDOH is offering assistance to those who need assistance with making an appointment. Those who need assistance over the phone to book an appointment can call 844-930-1779 or 211.