Vicksburg pediatrician speaks on Pfizer vaccine, efficacy in children ages 5-11

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Local pediatricians and doctors are gearing up to put shots in arms of young children after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 to 11, Tuesday.

This approval comes after clinical trials have been specifically done on this age group, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association and Vicksburg pediatrician Dr. Geri Weiland said.

“Each step along the way they have had clinical trials,” Weiland said, starting with the older population who were most vulnerable followed by studies done on 12- to 18-year-olds and then those 5 to 11.

According to the CDC website, the COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds went through the same multi-step testing done on all other COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 vaccines as well as those routinely recommended for childhood vaccination.

“The vaccine would not have been approved if it hadn’t been thoroughly tested, and parents should feel as confident as they do with any other vaccine,” Weiland said.

The two-dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 will be one-third of an adult dose, and given three weeks apart, Weiland said, adding she has not seen the literature of the possible after affects from the vaccine.

“But they are probably going to be the same. A sore arm, fussiness and maybe a low-grade fever, which is like with any vaccine,” she said.

While children are at a lower risk of having severe symptoms brought on by the COVID-19 virus, thousands have been hospitalized and nearly 200 children have died.

Some parents have been concerned about the increase in myocarditis from the vaccines, but in the clinical trials of those five to 11, no cases were reported.

And even though there have been rare cases in older children — predominately males — Weiland said, it is still safer to get the vaccine.

“We know there have been heart problems from people who have gotten COVID. I have one patient who is a teenager and he got COVID. He started having some arrhythmias and had to be seen by the cardiologist and had to take medication,” she said.

He has finally returned to sports, Weiland said, but it took a while for him to recover.

Another of her patients who is a young teen was having respiratory problems brought on by the virus, she said, which has affected his performance in sports.

“He is considered long COVID,” Weiland said, because the symptoms have lasted more than four weeks.

Currently, Vicksburg does not have vaccines available for the latest age group approved to receive a shot, but Weiland said orders are being placed.

And with many parents eager to have their child vaccinated, calls are already coming in.

“I have a list of some parents that wanted their children vaccinated. One parent in particular,” Weiland said, since the family has planned a trip to Disney World.

“They wanted to get one dose in before they go on Thanksgiving break,” she said.

If a child has already had COVID-19, Weiland said, they will have some immunities, but with the vaccine immunity will be higher.

The Pfizer vaccine will be given free of charge.

“Vaccines are the way out of this. We can do a lot of things, but vaccines are the way to get over COVID,” Weiland said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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