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An All Children's Hospital Physician Is Hopeful As A Vaccine Trial For Kids Yields Promising Results

Boy wearing a mask, coloring in school
Pasco County Schools
Vaccines may be approved for children younger than 12 later this year.

He estimates the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may be available for children by November or December.

Pfizer-BioNTech said this week its vaccine trial on children ages 5 to 11 showed promising initial results. The news comes as the greater Tampa Bay region continues to see a spike in cases among younger patients.

Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, attributes the rise to kids and parents letting their guards down earlier this summer.

"We are diagnosing many more children with COVID-19, whether they have mild infection or severe infection,” he said. “And we are also seeing a dramatic increase in the number of children that have required hospitalization for COVID — all in the last two months."

Dumois said the trial’s results confirmed some expectations.

"It's kind of what we had hoped, and to some degree expected to see in the younger children,” he said “Since younger children are mostly healthy, we often see that they have very good responses with other vaccines."

The dose given to the children was lower than adults, he says, and therefore will decrease the chance of side effects. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children will also be two doses taken three weeks apart, according to a press release.

Dumois estimates the vaccine may be available for children by November or December.

Right now, parents should advise their children to wear masks at school, the physician said. He suggests they make sure it fits comfortably, and that the child likes the design.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.
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