WAUKESHA, Wis. - Pfizer announced on Monday, Sept. 20 that it will apply for emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11.
"The more people who are able to be protected against COVID-19 the more comfortable they will be here, participating and taking in all that we’re doing," said Rhonda Schmidt, Waukesha Civic Theatre Executive Director.
It is welcome news for organizations like the Waukesha Civic Theatre, which offers regular stage performances and workshops for kids.
"Those classes range from how to audition, how to create a character, musical theatre, improv," Schmidt said.
The Pfizer vaccine is already available for everyone over the age of 12. But this lower dose is about a third of the amount given in each of those shots.
"Five to 11-year-olds' immune systems are not the same as an adults immune system – probably not even the same as an 18-year-olds immune system – going through these trials to determine the lowest most effective dose is absolutely the right way to do this," said Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW Health.
Dr. Jeff Pothof
Dr. Pothof said the side effects have been mild, often only soreness at the injection site.
While the risk of death from COVID is still low among children, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports at least 5 million kids in the United States have tested positive – and 460 have died. This, while the Delta variant contributes to a recent surge in cases.
"I do think that robust vaccination in the 5-11 age group is going to help a lot with those pediatric cases we are seeing. Right now we have that more contagious variant – Delta – and we’re seeing more kids get infected," the doctor said.
At the theatre, they are also making plans to accommodate patrons who want to keep a little extra distance when taking in a show with a socially distant seating section in the back – where masks are required.
"We are adapting. We’re inviting audiences back safely and carefully," Schmidt said.
Dr. Pothof said while Monday's news is great, he is still encouraging unvaccinated adults to get the shot. He said they remain at higher risk for hospitalization and death than kids.