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Pediatrician warns against off-label vaccine doses

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re hearing from a local pediatrician weighing in on the uses and recommendations surrounding approved vaccines like the Pfizer vaccine.

This week Pfizer announced a lowered dose of its vaccine is safe for kids 5 to 11, but that still needs to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and CDC.

Dr. Keith Seibert, a pediatrician with SouthCoast Health, says questions are coming in from parents who want their children vaccinated, but they’re just outside the approved age range. With Pfizer announcing their reduced dose vaccine is safe for children 5 to 11 just this week, those questions might become more and more frequent for pediatricians.

“These are very well-intended questions, well-meaning questions. But certainly by the end of the day I’ve had patients or parents ask me if I had any doses left in one of my vaccine vials, if I could give it to their 11 and a half year old, or their 11 year old. And I understand, I know where their heart is,” said Dr. Seibert.

But Dr. Seibert says it’s important for people to realize that administering doses off label, or outside the FDA and CDC recommended and approved uses, isn’t a good idea.

“I understand people want to protect their children. The process of evaluating the right dose, at the right time, the right schedule is important.”

Dr. Seibert also explained why giving even a reduced dose to children before the guidance on exact amounts is determined, can be dangerous.

“Their immune systems are different, they respond different. If you give too little, you may not see an effect at all, you may sensitize someone. If you give too much, you might see too many side effects without a proper risk benefit ratio.”

Dr. Seibert says he’s encouraging parents with kids not yet eligible to get vaccinated to be patient and wait for the scientists to ultimately give the green light.

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