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Savannah doctor hopes Pfizer COVID vaccine is approved for younger children soon

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 2:06 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Federal approval of the Pfizer shot for elementary-aged kids is expected very soon.

Local health officials say they believe final decisions could come out the first week of November.

Dr. Stephen Thacker, the pediatric infectious disease specialist at Memorial University Medical Center said something that was a saving grace, so to speak, at the beginning of the pandemic was that kids weren’t impacted as much. While this is still mostly true, he says what they’ve learned over time is that more children were infected than they knew.

Dr. Thacker said with the new variants that are more infectious, they’ve seen that children are becoming sick at an increased rate.

In August alone, Dr Thacker said nearly five million total admissions nationwide were those in the 18 and younger age group.

He says the best strategy to protect children in our communities is the vaccine. Dr. Thacker says there are some changes made to the vaccine to better suit younger children.

“For this age group, it’s about a third of the dose that we got as adults and adolescents. Also, another change is how it’s made, how it’s formulated. These are really good improvements in that now this vaccine can be stored for 10 weeks in the refrigerator, which is a much longer period of time than we could with the first versions of the Pfizer vaccine,” Dr. Thacker said.

Dr. Thacker said that increased storage time of the vaccine will allow more clinics and businesses to order and use this vaccine.

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