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Dr. Jerome Adams on Pfizer versus Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for kids

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dr. Jerome Adams, WISH-TV’s medical expert and a former U.S. surgeon general, talked Monday about the latest coronavirus news.

The first topic was about Riley Children’s Hospital administering Moderna shot Monday for children under the age of 5 after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines over the weekend.

Adams said, “They are very different, more different than for any other age group. The Moderna vaccine for ages 6 months to 5 years old is a two-dose vaccine. The fighter vaccine is a three-dose vaccine. Moderna went on the side of efficacy. They went with a bigger dose so it’s about four times the adult dose. They were able to meet the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) bar with just two doses. Pfizer wanted tolerability; less side effects meaning less fever, less malaise in a little kid. So, they actually needed three doses in order to get the same antibody response. Ultimately, parents need to decide, is my kid going to tolerate three doses, or do we need to get them in with two doses with a little bit higher side effect profile? You’re going to be fully vaccinated in one month with the Moderna vaccine, whereas with the Pfizer vaccine it’s two doses 21 days apart; then eight weeks later for the third, so three months to be fully vaccinated.”

CDC signs off on COVID-19 vaccine for 6 months and up

“This is fascinating because if it weren’t for omicron, we may not have has these vaccines, even though people complained that it took so long. With omicron we saw tremendous surge in the number of pediatric hospitalizations. What we also saw, was that over half of the people who were hospitalized during omicron in the six months to five year old age group, where people who had no other conditions. They weren’t sick kids, they were healthy kids. The CDC said, ‘Gosh, this data is compelling. We’ve got kids who are being harmed.’ Also, 2% of the deaths that occurred overall in this pandemic have occurred in that 6-month to 5-year-old age group. Again, half of those kids healthy and 2% may not sound like a lot, but kids shouldn’t die of anything. It was the No. 5 leading cause of death for that age group. When we look at the data, we know that more children have died from COVID prior to a vaccine being released and have died prior to any other vaccine being released, when we talk about the number of kids who are dying per year. When people say, ‘Gosh, you’re going too fast,’ or ‘We don’t do this for any other vaccine.’ They’re right. We actually don’t do this for any other vaccine. We’ve actually had the vaccines available for meningitis, chickenpox, and for other diseases long before we’ve had to have this many kids die.” Adams said.