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How CNY Kids Helped With Pfizer’s Potential COVID-19 Vaccine For Children

A minor patient receives his first dose of COVID-19 vaccination in this undated photo.

One hundred Central New York children helped test a COVID-19 vaccine that the pharmaceutical company said has shown promising results.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine developed with the German company BioNtech showed a lower-dose was safe and effective for 5 to 11-year-old participants, according to a Monday. The results include research conducted at Upstate Medical Hospital in downtown Syracuse, where pediatric infectious disease specialist oversees vaccine testing on young volunteers.

Domachowske said a lesser dosage of Pfizer's vaccine that’s approved for adults is effective in building the needed antibodies among children. He said the development is welcome news as the Delta variant is once again driving up positive COVID-19 cases across the U.S.

“I'm glad it came now instead of in a month or two because I think it's time to move forward,” he said.

While COVID deaths among children are extremely low, Pfizer’s announcement said pediatric cases of COVID-19 have increased around 240% as the Delta variant is surging. Domachowske said he hopes Pfizer will submit its vaccine for federal approval soon so the public could be a step closer to another tool in the fight against the pandemic.

“These vaccines are safe and they work, and if our uptake would increase, we will all benefit from it and we will see things returning back to normal and the morbidity and mortality go down,” Domachowske said.

The Pfizer-BioNtech study included more than 2,200 total participants, the release said.

In a statement, BioNtech’s CEO and co-founder said it plans to seek federal approval this winter to use the vaccine in children.

“The safety profile and immunogenicity data in children aged 5 to 11 years vaccinated at a lower dose are consistent with those we have observed with our vaccine in other older populations at a higher dose,” BioNtech’s Dr. Ugur Sahin said.

The company aims to also release data later this year on how its vaccine performed among children as young as 6 months old.