Hello. This is Dr. Russell Kohl, family physician and chief medical officer at TMF Health Quality Institute with another installation of our Medical Minute. In today’s episode, we’ll be discussing the recent CDC and FDA approval of the COVID-19 vaccination created by Pfizer for kids ages 5 to 11. So, let’s jump right into it. On Friday, October 29, the FDA completed their review and made a formal recommendation to expand the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination to kids between the ages of 5 and 11. That actually was followed up by a CDC recommendation on Tuesday, Nov. 2, which expanded the emergency use authorization for the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is being recommended for 5 to 11 year olds is essentially the same vaccine that is seen as being in adults. It does remain a two-dose series, but it is only one third of the dose that we are seeing for adults. It is still taken three weeks apart. As I mentioned, it is a much-less concentrated version. So, to help providers not have confusion, Pfizer is actually shipping out the pediatric doses with an orange cap, as opposed to the purple cap, which is present on the regular, adult Comirnaty vaccines. As we look at the population of children that we are looking at vaccinating now, the 5 to 11 year olds, that is roughly 28 million children across the United States. As we look back over the course of COVID, within that population, there’s been a little over 2,500 ICU cases within that age group, and a little over 100 deaths related to COVID in just the 5 to 11 year olds over the past year. It is important to recognize that that is actually a higher death rate than we saw even with chicken pox in the past, which we obviously have a standard vaccine for at this point. One of the things we have noticed is that certainly hospitalization in this group is associated with other health conditions such as obesity or diabetes, but certainly we are seeing cases in children who don’t have any of those comorbid conditions also. As we look at the studies for the effectiveness of the vaccine in kids, the presented study was 2,268 kids, which found the vaccine to be 91% effective, which is similar to what we saw in the adult effectiveness studies. There were 16 cases in the controlled group and only 3 cases in the vaccination group. It is important to recognize though that there were much fewer side effects in kids than we saw in the older population, but the side effects that did occur remain largely in the sore arms, fever, achiness sort of range. Obviously it is a pretty small study to be able to look for long-term side effects or any of those sorts of concerns, so that is something that will be continued to be monitored. If you take those statistics from the study and extrapolate them out, for every 500,000 5-to-11 year olds vaccinated, we should be able to prevent roughly 58,000 cases of COVID within that population, and roughly another 225 hospitalizations. Certainly, this is a really important aspect from a public health perspective to really reduce the number of reservoirs that are available for the virus to actually replicate and create variants within. Additionally, certainly, there is that Page 2 of 2 enhanced protection that we see amongst kids, which will enable us to be able to hopefully reduce our overall requirements to prevent the disease moving forward. Certainly we’re used to masks, social distancing, hand washing, vaccination, all of those. By being able to add vaccinations into this group, which is an age group notoriously challenged with hand washing and face-mask use, certainly we will be able to reduce the spread within that population, as well as reduce their ability to spread to other populations. So, certainly, exciting to be able to get kids both back in school and back with their grandparents, which has likely been reduced significantly over the past year of COVID. There has been a frequently reported study that has looked at hesitancy in parents with regard to the vaccinations in the 5-to-11 year old population. What it is generally showing is that about a third of the population has said yes, I want to get my kids vaccinated as soon as possible. About a third are a hard no, that nope, we’re not really interested under any circumstances. And about a third who remain in the wait and see timeline. So, expect relatively quick vaccination of kids up to about that 25 to 33 percent range, expecting us to be able to get up to about 50 to 60 percent in kids as time goes by and we’re able to see a little bit better information about their long-term effects. So, making the long story short, we finally have a safe, effective and approved vaccination for children 5 to 11 years old against COVID-19 that can certainly help us bring a greater close to this epidemic and move us more into an endemic stage. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments that you might have. In the meantime, keep up the good fight, and keep making the world a better place.