New developments with Pfizer's COVID pill, vaccines for kids

NOW: New developments with Pfizer’s COVID pill, vaccines for kids

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, IND. --- Major milestones in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with vaccines already available to children as young as five-years-old to another potential pill that could help treat the coronavirus.

The United Kingdom already gave the green light to Merck’s COVID-19 pill and now Pfizer released data Friday morning that showed its experimental antiviral pill drastically cuts COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.

 “It’s exciting news both the pill seems to be very effective for high risk individuals and dramatically reducing the risk for hospitalization and death,” said St. Joseph County’s Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Mark Fox.

Pfizer’s said data showed its antiviral pill was 90% effective in cutting COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in high risk adults.

 Most COVID-19 treatments require an IV or injection done at a hospital or clinic, which is why Dr. Fox believes this pill could be a major step forward, especially for the unvaccinated.

“To have a pill certainly makes it easier for anyone who needs it to take and hopefully just increases the opportunity for people in that highest risk category to get treatment early on that will reduce those bad outcomes,” explained Dr. Fox.

But with a new potential pill to fight the virus the question remains --- Why get vaccinated in the first place?

“You’re kind of rolling the dice well if I get sick hopefully that will be available, whereas we know we can dramatically reduce the risk of those bad outcomes. So, I think people are taking a chance if they intend to rely on the availability of these treatments rather than preventing it which again not only helps the individual but everyone around them,” added Dr. Fox.

So does the same thing apply for children, and parents worried about potential side effects in much younger kids who can now get inoculated?

“The dose for the 5-11-year-olds is a third of the dose that 12 and older have gotten so in the clinical trials the side effects were similar to what we see in older kids and adults much more mild,” explained Dr. Fox. “It offers a benefit not only for the child who gets the vaccine but for the other kids in their classroom at school, the adults in their life, their parents, their grandparents…”

Dr. Fox is among many other health experts still encouraging anyone who is eligible to roll up their sleeve.

“It is a phenomenal accomplishment that at this point in the pandemic we have multiple very effective vaccines available, we have treatments available but we have safe effective vaccines,” said Dr. Fox. “I still firmly believe that the vaccine is our best path forward in getting the pandemic under control.”

Pfizer plans to ask the FDA for authorization for its COVID-19 pill as soon as possible, meaning a decision could come within weeks or months.

For a list of pediatric vaccines available in your area you can visit the links below. You can also check with your child’s doctor or major pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, and Meijer who are will offer vaccines on an appointment only basis.

Register for pediatric vaccines in Indiana.

Register for pediatric vaccines in Michigan.

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