Over the last two weeks, Saint Lucia received 7800 doses of Pediatric Pfizer – 3000 doses, from the government of Spain as a generous donation; and an additional 4800 doses, through the COVAX facility. This means that the younger population ages 5 – 11 years can now receive the much-needed protection against COVID-19 and its complications.
“These vaccines will further complement the existing COVID-19 vaccines available to the people of St. Lucia. Young children are extremely vulnerable and can manifest severe lung infections, become very sick and require hospitalization if they become infected with the COVID-19 virus. This is especially important to remember considering variants, which can be very contagious. Like adults, children can also transmit COVID-19 to others if they’re infected, even when they have no symptoms.”
The pediatric Pfizer vaccine has been approved and authorized for use in children 5 to 11 years. The formulation and dosage are different to that of the adult Pfizer vaccine. The recommended schedule is two doses given intramuscularly into the deltoid muscle 4-8 weeks apart after the first dose, preferentially 8 weeks, as a longer interval between doses is associated with higher vaccine effectiveness. Side effects are likely, similarly to the side effects experienced with other age groups.
Children may experience pain at the injection site (upper arm) and could feel more tired than usual. Fever, irritability, or drowsiness are also possible. These side effects are usually temporary and generally clear up within 48 hours. Antipyretic or analgesics such as Panadol are effective in the relief of those symptoms.
“Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect the child and others, reducing the chances of transmitting the virus to others, including family members (and) friends and older persons who may be more susceptible to severe consequences of the infection. Remember, the current vaccines are still effective in preventing severe illness from current variants of the virus.”