The Pfizer COVID vaccine has emergency approval from the FDA for use on children 12 to 15 years old. Cincinnati Children's has been studying its effectiveness since last October.
Vaccine Research Center Director Robert Frenck says about 350 teens and smaller groups of younger children are in the study groups. He says side effects in kids are similar to what adults have reported. "The common things - you're getting pain at the site, because it's an injection. Then if they're getting any total body thing, they're getting a headache. They may get some chills, that's unusual. More it's fatigue and muscle aches."
And Frenck says the rate of side effects was similar to those in adults. He says right now, Children's is looking at whether kids under the age of 12 should get a smaller vaccine dose than what adults receive. Those age 12 and up get the same dosage as adults.
"We're going to have children five to 11 years of age, two to four years of age and six months up to two years of age and test different doses of vaccine in small groups of children. And then once we have that dose, we'll be doing larger scale trials," Frenck says.
He says it's important to get teens and children vaccinated because those are the age groups showing high numbers of COVID infections right now.
Children's Chief of Staff Patty Manning says she's confident the vaccine is safe and effective for kids. She says she understands the hesitancy some parents may have, but says without vaccination, children are at risk of getting sick.
"I hate to put pressure on families who feel like they can't win with their decision; that they feel afraid that either decision they make can put their child at risk," she says. "I would just say as a trusted health care partner I feel very confident that getting your child vaccinated is the right decision."