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Why Smaller Doses For Covid Vaccine For Kids?

Pfizer’s COVID 19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 is now authorized. The vaccination regimen remains the same for both adults and kids. Even the schedule is the same.  There are two shots. But the dose for every shot is smaller, one-third of what is being administered to the adults.

The FDA has authorized a 10 microgram dose vaccine for children aged 5-11. For teens and adults, the dosage is 30 micrograms.

Why Smaller Doses For Covid Vaccine For Kids?

Moderna also published the results of its trial for its two-dose COVID 19 vaccine for children aged 6-11. Here too, the dosage is half of what the company offers to the adults.

The question you may have in mind is, why different doses for children and adults? What to do if your child is at the doorstep of 12?

Why Smaller Doses For Covid Vaccine For Kids?

The ultimate goal of every vaccine trial program is to find the smallest dose of antigen. The antigen is the substance that boosts the immune system. This way, vaccine manufacturers aim to ensure the protection a child needs without having to suffer side effects.

Pfizer’s Senior Vice President informed FDA’s advisory panel that it has maximized protection and minimized complications in their COVID 19 vaccine for young children. When it comes to a child, body weight does not matter.  A kid’s immune system is in a developmental stage. And it gets weaker with age.

According to the scientist who led Pfizer’s vaccine trial for children, their immune system is quite strong. In certain instances, their immune systems can create robust responses using smaller amounts of antigen. Certain vaccines require the same doses for adults and children. But some need only smaller doses like that of hepatitis.

The bodies of children, as mentioned above, are in their developmental stage. And they respond quite differently.

That was something Pfizer took into account when developing its COVID 19 vaccine for kids.

After developing its vaccine for adolescents, Pfizer contemplated its next move. It analyzed the dosing. And it felt that a lower dose will generate the same immune response in children.

The trial did among children attested to their observation. The 10 micrograms of two doses of its kid-sized vaccine produced the same immune response in kids as that of adults. And the side effects were minimal.

Pfizer submitted the results of its phase 2 and 3 trials for a vaccine for children in September. In it, the company said that its 10 micrograms dose of vaccine produced a strong response in children, to the same extent as that of the adults. The company also said that its COVID 19 shots are safe and are almost 91% effective in stopping symptomatic infections in children aged 5-11.

Researchers also used higher doses during the trials. They noticed some more minor side effects. They could not notice anything severe. They also observed that the 10 microgram-dose reduced the severity of fever and other issues than the dose they tested in 16-25-year-olds.

The smaller dose, according to experts, also minimizes the likelihood of myocarditis. It is a rare type of heart inflammation young men developed upon receiving the COVID 19 shots of Pfizer and Moderna.

Researchers did not notice even a single instance of myocarditis in children during the trials. But not a sufficient number of children were tested to evaluate its risk among them. Health professionals will closely monitor for such instances.

Furthermore, parents of children about to be 12 don’t have to go for the large dose. They can happily go with the dose recommended for their age.

Pfizer is planning to reduce the dosage for its vaccine for those aged 12-15. But there are no trials to support such a decision at present. It even warned doctors against going for it for now.

The key to stopping this pandemic is to vaccinate as many children as possible.

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