Dr. Offit on COVID-19 vaccines for children

Contemporary PEDS Journal, November 2021, Volume 38, Issue 11

Paul Offit, MD, discusses the state of COVID-19 vaccines and children.

Paul A. Offit, MD, is the director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. He recently spoke with Contemporary Pediatrics® about COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 12 years, vaccine hesitators vs vaccine cynics, and who should be administering the vaccines for children.

Q. Vaccines for children aged less than 12 years?

Well, it looks like approval is imminent. (Editor’s note: Children aged 5 to 11 years are now eligible to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.)

Q. Out of all the different arguments to convince adults, and their eligible children, to get the vaccine, what would you say is the most convincing one?

If they are hesitant because they are unsure of safety and efficacy, we have more than enough data on that. It is a tremendous platform to stand on.

There is a difference between these people and vaccine denialists, who are vaccine cynics. If that’s still going to allow for the circulation of the virus, and all its variants, then what do you do? I think you compel people to be vaccinated.

Q. Should pharmacists or pediatricians administer these vaccines?

Pediatricians are used to being the medical home for kids, but I have no problem with pharmacists giving this vaccine. They just need to make sure that people stick around for at least 15 minutes after a dose, that they have the equipment to give epinephrine or other sort of supportive measures, should there be an anaphylactic reaction.