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Syracuse doctor answers questions about the COVID vaccine for children

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The CDC has formally approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.

It happened Tuesday night and it means as soon as the doses get distributed, elementary-age kids can start getting the shot.

A lot of parents will still have questions before they go through with vaccinating their children, and the lead doctor in one of the local vaccine trials is here to answer them.

Dr. Joseph Domachowske is from SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, where 100 kids were part of the clinical trial.

So how does this shot differ from the adult vaccine? The doctor explained it’s a two-shot series, just like the adult version. It must be taken at least three weeks apart.

As far as how much of the vaccine they’re getting, it’s only 1/3 of the adult dose.

What about potential side effects? What are they, and how bad could they be in kids? Dr. Domachowske says the side effects mirror what some adults experienced, with symptoms like low-grade fever, fatigue or irritability, but most cases got better within a day or two.

He says there were actually fewer instances of side effects in kids.

“The side effect profile is mild enough that I couldn’t tell when we enrolled these kids,” said Dr. Domachowske. “We enrolled almost 100 kids locally and some of the parents would come in and say, ‘I know that they didn’t get the active vaccine, they got the placebo because they didn’t have any side effects at all.’ And I said, ‘well, hold on, we know that two-thirds of them did, and that’s what most of the parents are telling me.’ So I know that many of the kids without side effects at all got the vaccine.”

The vaccine will be offered at pharmacies and it’s also going to be made available at many pediatric offices.

For more information on whether the shot is right for your child, be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

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