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Arkansas Children's Hospital supports Pfizer approval of vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer announced Monday that a medical trial shows its coronavirus vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11-years-old.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Pfizer announced Monday that a medical trial shows its coronavirus vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11-years-old. The company said the trials showed the vaccine was safe and well-tolerated resulting in a "Robust neutralizing antibody response."

The Pfizer trials only tested a third of the amount in a normal dose for those 12 and over. Pfizer said it studied the lower dose in 2,268 kindergartners and elementary school-aged kids.  

According to the company, the research tested if those children developed antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults with the regular dose. 

Pfizer would need to get FDA approval to authorize an emergency use.

Dr. Rick Barr is the Chief Clinical Officer at Arkansas Children's Hospital and said they're anticipating an emergency use approval.

"If and when they approve the vaccine, we're ready to start offering the vaccine for our younger age group," said Barr.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, younger people are at lower risk of severe illness or death, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID. 

At least 460 have died.

As of Monday, Arkansas Children's said 14 children are receiving treatment for COVID. 

"Some of them are just hospitalized and requiring oxygen, but some of them are in the intensive care unit and carefully ventilated because of COVID raspatory failures," said Barr.

Some parents are on the fence about the new company approval.

"I'm really skeptical of the whole situation. It kind of bothers me," said Alyson Jones, a mother of three children. 

"It's hard being a mother trying to make the right decision because I want them to be healthy and I don't want them to get sick, but then I don't know if the vaccine might get them sick."

She got vaccinated back in January because of her job but contracted COVID in June. She didn't have to be hospitalized but believes her symptoms were only bearable because of the vaccine. 

Her oldest son is 14 and he wanted to get vaccinated. 

Her hesitancy comes from previous views on it.

"What if I make this decision for my son and then it comes out that, you know, something happens that we have side effects or that he gets a side effect from it and I feel like I hurt him or if he didn't get the vaccine, I could have just kept him home," said Jones.

The tough decision may now come for her middle son who would fall in the new age range of 5 to 11 approved by Pfizer.

She said she's vaccinated them to keep her youngest son more protected because he's younger than the new age range.

"Because that was the first thing that I just thought of was. I have a four-year-old," said Jones.