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Health experts clarify safety of dosage amounts for children's vaccines

Parents are concerned that the same dosage will be given to kids ages 5-11 who have a wide range in weight differences.

ST. LOUIS — Twenty-eight million American children are now eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine.

The child-sized vaccine is a third of the dosage that adults receive. 

Children ages 5 to 11 have a wide range of differences in weight, which has some parents concerned that the same dosage will apply to this entire age group.

RELATED: Kids 5-11 can get COVID vaccine as CDC gives final clearance

"We as pediatricians, love your kids just as much as our own and we would never do anything to your children that we wouldn't do to our own," Mercy Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Maya Moody said.

Moody and Mercy Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Timothy Warren said that Pfizer's 10 microgram dosage for child-sized COVID-19 vaccine is safe for ages 5-11 regardless of their differences in weight.

"The vaccines aren't a weight-based medication dosage. There are age groups that are studied, so we feel confident about this vaccine dosage for this age group," Moody said.

"The safety data that we have available showed very few, if any, substantial side effects more than high fevers for a couple of the kids who got these and that did not seem to be affected very much by their age within the study," Warren said.

Parents should be aware of side effects that include sore arms, swelling in the lymph nodes, fatigue, chills and fevers after children get vaccinated, which Warren and Moody believe are temporary inconveniences compared to the long-term risks of COVID-19.

"There's more to the story than just hospitalization and death. I've seen any number of children who have lingering effects with their own bouts with the illness," Warren said.

"The number quoted by the FDA is that it has a 91% efficacy so we know it can prevent COVID illness," Moody said.

With U.S. Health experts giving the green light, they expect the roll-out process to start as soon as possible.

"This should not be the slow, kind of initial rollout that we saw with adult vaccine," Warren said.

"Mercy has its order is shipped and its waiting appointments should open Thursday or Friday with Saturday possibly being the earliest appointment slots," Moody said.

St. Louis County is prepared to begin administering childrens' vaccines Saturday.

They're offering the shots at all three of the health department's permanent health centers and all four library branches.

The City of St. Louis will release more information once they finalize plans to set up locations for children to get vaccinated.

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