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Knoxville parent weighs in on Pfizer vaccine for children

“He's my responsibility, as a parent... I want to protect him.”

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Some parents, like Nick Petrick, have been desperately waiting on a COVID vaccine for their little ones. Petrick says he even thought about enrolling his son in a trial. 

“I've looked into trying to see if I could go ahead and get him to be part of the trial, vaccination trials, so that I could go ahead and, you know, get him vaccinated,” he said. 

Nick Petrick has a 5-year-old son who attends a Knox County School. He may not have to wait much longer to get vaccinated. Pfizer just announced their vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective for kids ages five to 11 years old. Petrick says as soon as it is available, his son will get the shot. 

“He's, he's my responsibility, as a parent, you know, I want to protect him.”

Pfizer plans to submit to the FDA for emergency use authorization. The organization’s senior vice president of Vaccine Clinical Research and Development, Bill Gruber, has his fingers crossed. 

"We're hopeful and expectant that the FDA will approve the vaccine based on the data we have,” said Gruber. 

The submission comes as kids are back in school and child cases are at a record high. On Monday, the Knox County Board of Education reported 392 active student cases, and Knox County schools are under an optional mask mandate.

“So, I mean, it's, it's concerning,” said Petrick. 

Gruber, who is also a pediatrician, says Pfizer tested a lower dose on the younger kids. He also says the kid dosage has fewer harmful side effects than the ones seen in adults. 

Petrick believes this is a step towards getting the spread of the coronavirus under control. 

“I think that the only way that we're going to be able to help our community is just by, you know, getting the spreader under control.”