CNBC: 'Off brand' vaccines for kids

There’s a vaccine workaround for children under 12 ⁠— but doctors say eager parents should wait

The school year is here amid a surge in pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations. Parents desperately want to know: When can young children get the vaccine?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years of age and older. That move doesn’t particularly affect children ages 12 to 15, who have been vaccine-eligible under an emergency use authorization since May, but it could have major implications for children in the 5-to-11 age bracket.

Legally, full approval opens the door for doctors to administer the Pfizer vaccine for “off-label” use, where approved drugs or vaccines are prescribed for unapproved uses. Yet,  medical organizations and experts still strongly recommend that eager parents and their children wait. 

Medications for adults are frequently prescribed off-label at lower doses for children, says Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Cincinnati and a UC Health physician. Vaccines, however, are a “different animal.”

“Children are not small adults,” Fichtenbaum says.

Read the full CNBC article.

Photo courtesy of Charles Deluvio/Unsplash.

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