Dr. Eric Rubin, who is on the FDA advisory panel, justified pushing the Pfizer COVID vaccine on young kids this week by deferring to possible upsides even with unknown side effects.
Almost one year after the government pushed the Pfizer coronavirus vaccines for adults, an FDA advisory panel recommended — with a vote of 17-0, and one abstention — gave emergency authorization for the Pfizer shot for kids ages 5 to 11.
As the Washington Post has noted, the advisory board’s recommendation is nonbinding. However, the FDA is now giving emergency authorization.
Next, the CDC will authorize vaccinating kids. Once CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky allows the approval, which might come as soon as next week, young kids can start getting the Pfizer vaccine.
Child recipients will get one-third the adult dose.
Before this vote, panel members gave their concerns about giving the coronavirus vaccine to kids.
Despite the unknown risks, Rubin — an immunology professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health — stated that the vaccine should be accepted for kids. Many experts had similar opinions.
“The data reveals the vaccine works and is pretty safe … and yet we are worried about a the side effects that we cannot yet measure, but they are probably real,” Rubin said.
“What sways me the most is it is a sort of personal choice. If I had a kid who was a transplant recipient, I would really want him or her to have a vaccine such as this. And there are definitely kids who probably need to be vaccinated,” he said. “The question of how broadly should we use it, I think this is a big question. I know it is not our question … but I do believe it is a somewhat close call.”
In fact, according to Rubin, the vaccine should be approved even with the unknown affects, because giving the vaccine is the only way to know of these possible side effects.
“It really will be about what the overall conditions are,” Rubin said. “But we are never going to learn how safe the vaccine is unless we start giving it. That is just how it goes.”
Author: Scott Dowdy