Curious about the approval of Pfizer’s kids’ vaccine? We talked to a pediatrician.

SANDPOINT, Idaho. — The more people get vaccinated, the more protection there will be against COVID-19.

Kids are a big part of that key step. The next opportunity will come when the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids between five and 11 years old.

Chief Medical Officer and pediatrician for Kaniksu Community Health Dr. Charlotte Weeda had an eye-opening experience in the fall of last year.

“I didn’t realize what a big deal it was and how sick people were till I was hospitalized. Seeing the look on the nurses’ faces and doctors’ faces who were treating people much sicker than me. Made me realize, this is huge,” she told us.

One year later, she’s advocating for the vaccine– and for good reason. At Kootenai Health, there are five kids between the ages of 10 and 18-years-old hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s the most the hospital has seen so far.

Weeda says she’s eager for Pfizer’s vaccine to be approved for kids under 12-years-old.

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“My job as a pediatrician is to give you best advice and best medical advice and best scientific advice. I think this is very safe for your child. I’ll make sure my kids get it when they’re all of age and eligible,” she said.

The kid’s vaccine is about one-third of the dose currently given to kids 12 years old and over. In the trials done so far, kids have very little side effects, if any at all.

The goal is get to herd immunity.

“Viruses are super smart. They’re way smarter than bacteria. The longer they’re in a community and the longer they have to spread, the main goal is to see how many people they can affect and how sick they can make people,” Dr. Weeda explained. As we get more people vaccinated, the mutation rate will decrease.

She works in Sandpoint now, where the vaccination rate is low and she sees a big disconnect.

“There are actually people in these small towns and the doctors and nurses and ethics teams are having to make decisions. Which person gets a ventilator? Which person gets the oxygen? Which person gets the monoclonal antibodies? And then to walk into a clinic and have people say we don’t believe in COVID. It’s no big deal.”

When the vaccine is released, she anticipates most vaccination opportunities will be in a clinic. Then, you’ll also have the opportunity to get advice from a pediatrician you’ve known and trusted for years.

Dr. Weeda compares the vaccine to wearing a seatbelt.

“People need to stick with science. It’s not an opinion, it’s not an emotion,” she said.

This pediatrician hopes and anticipates that the Pfizer vaccine will be approved for kids between the age of 5 and 11, by early November.

As soon as that time comes, we’ll let you know right away.

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