DENVER — This week, Pfizer announced that its COVID vaccine is safe and effective for kids between ages 5 and 11 years old – now the company has to wait and see if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees with that.
If the vaccine is approved, the news will force many parents to make an important decision, Loveland mom Melissa Matz is one of those parents.
"There have been a lot of kids that spent so much more time in the ICU and didn’t’ have as favorable outcomes and you know you see that," Matz said as she remembered last December and the frightening few weeks she spent in the ICU.
Last December, Wally, Melissa's then 4-year-old, was diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, also called MIS-C, a rare condition found in children that are often battling COVID-19.
Wally did recover and was later part of a a nationwide study being conducted by Pediatric Heart Network and HealthCore to monitor the long term effects MIS-C has on children.
"Even though we do wish that hadn’t happened or that we hadn’t had to go through that, we felt fortunate for the place that we were at and the time that we were there to get the treatment that we did," Matz explained.
Now Wally is 5 years old. His age would qualify for the Pfizer COVID vaccine if it is approved by the FDA. As the company waits on that decision, Matz is waiting to see what Wally's doctors say.
"To me it's about mitigating the risk and being able to optimize our health and trusting the people that saved his life the first time," she said. "If they tell me this is a good thing and that it could boost his immune system we'll probably get him vaccinated. If they tell us to wait for a while we'll probably wait."
9Health expert Dr. Payal Kohli said while there is not a lot of data for recovered MIS-C patients and the COVID vaccine she believes they should get the shot.
"The last thing we want to do, especially with someone who has already shown that they can have this nearly fatal complication of COVID, is to let them not have the best defense that’s out there," Dr. Kohli said.
"We know that the virus is evolving. We know that you can get COVID more than once, so we want to protect our kids, especially if they had MIS-C by getting them vaccinated. I cannot emphasize that enough."
While it may be a while before Matz has to make the final decision, she knows she will do anything to protect her son.
"If they tell us this [getting vaccinated] is our best option at optimizing Wally’s health and his immune response if he’s going to be around it? I’m going to go for it 100%."
Pfizer said they plan to submit their data for FDA approval by the end of the month. In August, the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the FDA to work aggressively to authorize the vaccine for kids under 12.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Vaccine