Doc involved in Pfizer trials confident vaccine will be approved for younger children

Anxiety levels are high in some households where children are back in classrooms. In some areas of the country, COVID-19 infections among children have spiked.

Pfizer’s announcement that its vaccine works well with children between 5 and 11 years old, and the company’s plan to seek authorization with the FDA, will help many parents start to breathe a bit easier.

“I don’t have any doubt or questions that the authorization will be there, and hopefully sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Diego Hijano, an infectious disease physician at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. He spoke with WTOP last week ahead of the news from Pfizer, and has been working with Pfizer in some of the clinical trials conducted at his hospital.

He hinted that the early results were very encouraging.

“Personally I don’t have any hesitation or doubt that the vaccine will be authorized based on what we know about the vaccines,” said Hijano.

But he also stressed the importance of waiting for the full authorization process to play out. “We struggled so much with a lot of people being hesitant or resistant to vaccinations because they didn’t trust the process of the FDA,” he said.

“We need to be as transparent as possible and understand this is the amount of information that needs to be collected for the FDA to make the proper decision so safety and efficacy will always come first,” he said. “Certainly it will happen.”

And while it might sound easy for a doctor to say all of that, he’s also the parent of a child currently too young for the vaccine. It’s not just other parents he knows waiting to get younger children vaccinated — he’s just as eager.

“We’re all kind of working around the clock to collect the data so that the company can present to the FDA and the FDA can make its decision,” he said. “The steps are necessary… I’m waiting anxiously for this vaccine to be authorized.

“In my mind I don’t have any question … if this is going to happen,” he added. “It’s just when it’s going to happen.”

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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