YOKOSUKA, Japan -- COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11 were rolled-out Tuesday, Nov. 16 during a SHOTEX event at Sullivans Elementary School onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY).
The event follows the recent authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children ages 5-11, which occurred in late October.
“We are confident in the safety, effectiveness and manufacturing data behind this authorization,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “We hope this information helps build confidence of parents who are deciding whether to have their children vaccinated.”
Much like the vaccinations given to adults, children can expect to receive the two-dose primary series three weeks apart but are given a lower dose by comparison (10 micrograms vs. 30.)
In anticipation of receiving the vaccine, parents are advised to talk with their children, explaining the process of what to expect. It is also equally important to speak with their health care provider about any possible allergies their child might have.
“I believe that vaccinating our population will significantly begin to lower transmission among those greatly impacted,” said Stephanie Cole, a registered nurse, CFAY community member, and mother of a child receiving the COVID-19 shot this week. “Vaccines have always been a front runner in preventing serious disease, and I can only hope that they are speaking with healthcare professionals and not just relying on reports from social media and media outlets in general.”
According to the FDA, the immune responses of children ages 5-11 is comparable to those aged 16-25, with an approximate 90.7% effective rate in preventing COVID-19.
To parents worrying about their children’s wellbeing, the FDA has confirmed that while side-effects from the vaccine range from sore arms, headaches, and fevers, they are ultimately mild-to-moderate in severity and tend to go away within two-days’ time.
Cole, a volunteer for this week’s shot exercise, added that while her medical expertise as a nurse has led her to the study of medicine throughout her career, she doesn’t disregard other parents’ hesitance in allowing their children to be vaccinated, instead urging parents to conduct proper research before deciding.
Electing to take the COVID-19 vaccination contributes to not only the health and wellbeing of others, but also to the overall mission here at CFAY.
“Families have been very supportive in this community regarding the elective vaccinations,” said Capt. Carolyn Rice, commanding officer, U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka (USNH). “All of the adults and older children have done a great job, and now it’s time to make sure our little ones are taken care of.”
For more than 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet’s forward deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.