Haley’s Health Inbox: How long until a COVID vaccine will be ready for younger kids?

COVID-19 vaccine updates – It’s hard to believe we are already in October! The cooler fall weather and beautiful sunshine are something I love most about Houston during this time of the year. Each week, I’ll continue to bring you a wrap of what I’m working on, including any top health headlines you should know about.

In health news this week I’ve been working on something a lot of you ask me questions about - the COVID vaccine and kids.

Big update this week about kids and the COVID vaccine

This week Pfizer asked the U.S. government to allow the use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. Texas Children’s Hospital said they’ll be ready to administer the vaccine as soon as the Emergency Use Authorization is given.

Pfizer studied 2,268 volunteers and has said there were no serious side effects. The study isn’t large enough to detect any extremely rare side effects, such as the heart inflammation that sometimes occurs after the second dose of the regular-strength vaccine, mostly in young men... but they say with a smaller dosage, the young kids can create the same immune response as teens and adults.

Texas Children’s Hospital was part of that study and told me how with a dosage a third the size of what adults get, they witnessed that children do really well with the vaccine. Dr. Stan Spinner, Texas Children’s Pediatrics Chief Medical Officer and President said they hardly even noticed kids getting a fever with that dosage.

How long until a COVID vaccine will be ready for younger kids?

With the vaccine news this week, the next big question is about how long we have to wait to actually get the vaccine. The first panel to hear the evidence on this shot isn’t scheduled until October 26, but even if it clears that hurdle, the C-D-C panel still has to make a recommendation to the C-D-C.

What I’m saying is, if you were one of the parents hoping to have a vaccine by Halloween, it probably won’t happen. However, there’s a chance your 5 to 11-year-olds could have a vaccine available by Thanksgiving or Christmas.

The latest COVID spike may be on the downside

There are signs the Houston area is heading in the right direction as hospitals reporter shorter wait times. In the Texas Medical Center, there were on average less than 200 COVID patients admitted per day last week.

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That number is down from last month when there was 300 to 400 daily admission, which is a record high during the pandemic. In one story I did this week I detailed COVID number changes from each county.

I will continue bringing you the latest on COVID-19 in the Houston community along with other important health happenings in our area. As always, you can send me your own story ideas.

All the best,

Haley Hernandez

Health Reporter, KPRC-TV

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