NEW BRITAIN – Hartford HealthCare is prepared to talk with parents after Pfizer announced its coronavirus vaccine is safe to use for children as young as 5 years old.
Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was only available to those 12 and up.
“Hartford HealthCare has always been in the forefront with transparency and provide information to our colleagues across the system and we will continue to do so,” said Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer, Hartford HealthCare. “It is exciting news that Pfizer is close to providing vaccination for 12 and under and we’re hoping by October this will be the case. It looks like that’s what’s happening, so we will be prepared to advise parents and community at large.”
Keith Grant, an APRN and senior system director of infection prevention at Hartford HealthCare, said they haven’t seen much of an uptick among children in their system.
“We’ve seen an uptick I’d say in our 25 and older, but that’s not within the last month, I think within the last two or three months,” he said. “Nationally, however, there’s been a significant uptick in children for the week of August 14; the data was 1.4 per 100,000, which was an increase of five to the previous two-three weeks.”
Andrew Lim, director of emergency medicine at Bristol Hospital, said with cases for those under 12 continuing to rise, the results of the Pfizer trail is positive news.
“The results from the trial are really positive and are certainly a step in the right direction in not only protecting our children against covid-19 but all of us against the virus,” Lim said. “There are certainly still steps that need to be taken before Pfizer receives authorization and we can begin to get this group of 5- to 11-year-olds vaccinated, but this is encouraging. The more people, including young children, who are able to receive the vaccine, the closer we become to getting out of the pandemic; the closer we are to returning to normalcy.”
The average age for admitted covid-19 positive patients in the breakthrough cases is 72 right now, according to Grant.
“The one thing I think is very consistent with conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks is how do we communicate about breakthrough cases, and this is very important,” he said. “Within our health system, we will capture breakthrough cases because we’re testing for breakthrough cases. The significant number of individuals who will contract this disease process that’s fully vaccinated will be asymptomatic.”
According to Grant, they’ve seen individuals that get care in their system that are fully vaccinated do much better than if they’re not.
“About 98% of the individuals over the last month who have died from covid-19 in hospitals are individuals who are not vaccinated,” he said. “But the question to be asked is, ‘If I am an older person or I have some conditions am I more protected if I’m vaccinated,’ and the data we have right now profoundly proves that is the case.”