Image Courtesy of Modern Healthcare
By Zachary Lichter
On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine for kids ages 5-11. This authorization comes as a lot of kids and younger people contracted the Delta variant over the summer, which resulted in a number of hospitalizations and deaths. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the FDA have been monitoring the vaccines for a long time and will continue to do so to make sure that the vaccine is safe and effective. The purpose of getting kids ages 5-11 vaccinated is to make sure that they are protected from the coronavirus. It also is to help school districts resume in-person learning and activities.
The FDA conducted a study for kids ages 5-11 to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The safety of the vaccine was studied in 3,100 kids in that particular age group. The kids that received the vaccine experienced no serious side effects once the results came out from the study. The only side effect scientists were able to report was a sore arm. The immune responses from the Pfizer vaccine were the same for people, who are 16-25 years of age and it was 90.7% effective in preventing the coronavirus. The CDC announced that starting on November 8, the distributions of the vaccine will start to increase as the vaccine will be available at public health care centers and at children’s healthcare providers.
The vaccine has been a key in protecting people from contracting the coronavirus. It has also been the subject of debate for its safety and effectiveness. What if there was a pill that people can take if they were experiencing symptoms of Covid-19? In early October, Merck reported a new drug called Molnupiravir, which is a pill people can take when they have symptoms of Covid-19. The pill is supposed to cut half the risk of patients who are hospitalized with mild to moderate symptoms. It is unclear who is supposed to take the pill. So far Merck has only administered the medicine to people who were at high risk. But Merck conducted a study where people who had coronavirus symptoms in the first five days took four pills twice a day. When the pill goes into your bloodstream, it’s supposed to block the virus’ ability to replicate. As far as side effects go, there were none reported once people took Molnupiravir. The pill was designed to work like Tamiflu, which is the pill that helps prevent serious symptoms of the flu. The pill was also effective in preventing mutations like the delta variant.
The question now is, with Merck trying to release Molnupiravir to the general public, should people still get vaccinated? According to Yale Medicine, doctors emphasized that if Molnupiravir is authorized and possibly successfully passes the clinical trial, people should still get vaccinated. People who are vaccinated are less likely to get sick.