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‘Very effective’: Ohio doctor overseeing vaccine trials shares insight into Pfizer’s vaccine for kids

Dr. Robert Frenck oversees Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, including those involving children ages 5 to 11.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pfizer's COVID vaccine appears to be more than 90% effective for children 5 to 11-years-old. That's according to information from the pharmaceutical company released by the FDA Friday.

Some younger children in Ohio have already got the shot as part of research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Dr. Robert Frenck, the director of vaccine research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, said parents need to know that the vaccine is safe and effective for kids.

According to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, more than 350 children are participating in various Pfizer trials at Cincinnati Children's. A total of more than 1,400 volunteers, including participants ages 6 months to 85 years old, are enrolled in 11 trials of COVID vaccines at the medical center, including for the Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, CyanVac, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

In that latest Pfizer briefing document released by the FDA, the company said two doses would be given three weeks apart. It would be a third of the dose for adults and older children.

"We use the lowest dose possible,” explained Dr. Frenck.

Dr. Frenck said the side effects to be expected are similar to what teens and adults experience: pain at the site of the injection, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and sometimes fever.

"We have not seen anything different as far as for side effects in the children as we saw in adults,” he said.

Lila Dropic, 8, and her 10-year-old brother Eli were part of the Pfizer trial for this younger age group at Cincinnati Children's who got the Pfizer vaccine being studied.

The hospital provided 10TV previously recorded interviews with them and their mom, Amanda.

"I talked to my kids about it. We all agree, in order for everybody to get vaccinated somebody has to be willing to step up and go first and we believe in science, we believe in evidence-based medicine,” said Amanda Dropic.

"It wasn't bad at all,” said Eli.

Meanwhile, parents are feeling eager.

Troy Carter is a dad in Dublin with two daughters.

"My wife and I are both vaccinated,” he said. “We will probably not worry so much once the kids are vaccinated."

And for parents there's another takeaway, Dr. Frenck said, from their research.

"It took us 30,000 adults to be able to show efficacy, it only took us a little over 2,000 children to show the efficacy,” he explained. “So parents should really take away from that saying, oh, children are getting infected with COVID. There's a lot of COVID in the community, and kids need to be vaccinated to protect them against the infection."

Federal regulators are meeting to weigh the safety and effectiveness. Formal approval is expected in the first week of November.

COVID-19 in Ohio: Recent Coverage ⬇️