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Corpus Christi plays part in approval of pediatric COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 7:46 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 20:46:53-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Children ages 5 to 11-years-old are now able to get a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday. They receive one-third the dose adults get, and they will still get two shots, 21 days apart.

What you might not know is that Corpus Christi played a part in the ultimate recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control.

Local mother, Iris Gutierrez, said she originally got a vaccine as a way to protect her daughter.

“And she came to me one day and she said 'how come I cannot get this vaccine when a virus that is killing people or is making them really sick?'” said Iris.

Then an opportunity came up for Gutierrez and her 10-year-old daughter Sophia. They were invited to take part in clinical trials at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

“I asked her if she wanted it and she said 'sign me up',” said Iris. "And I said 'OK'. And we waited a month or so and then finally we got the word that she was selected and she was so excited."

Sophia was the first child between 5 and 11-years-old to get the Pfizer vaccine for trials at Driscoll Children's Hospital. It was made possible by the Global Institute of Hispanic Health.

“I was excited," Iris said. "She was just like ‘What is all the fuss about? It’s an injection. I get my flu vaccine every year. Why are they congratulating me? What is all the fuss about?’ And she didn’t realize what she’d done for the children of south Texas.”

“And I want to say 'thank you' to all them and to the children who participated because it is because of their participation that this milestone had been reached,” Dr. Jaime Fergie said, director of infectious diseases at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Iris said her daughter handled the shots well. Sophia had a headache and slight fever, for a short time, as side effects. Iris said participating in the trial calmed many of Sophia's fears.

“Covid did a lot for them mentally when the children weren’t able to interact as they were before," said Iris. "Softball season, basketball season, all changed in which they were interacting with each other and that took a toll on their mental well being.”

Dr. Fergie said Corpus Christi will be at the forefront of the next vaccine development. Vaccine trials for 6-months-old to 4-years-old are taking place at Driscoll Children’s Hospital now. Approval could possibly come by the end of the year.