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FDA authorization of COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11: IU experts available to comment

For Immediate Release Oct 27, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Following a daylong meeting Oct. 26, the FDA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11. This was the first in a series of meetings to make this vaccine available to younger children.

Next, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met Nov. 2 and recommended the Pfizer vaccine for this younger population with official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation on Nov. 3. This now allows kids ages 5 to 11 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The following Indiana University experts are available to comment:

Jessica Calarco

  • Title: Associate professor of sociology, College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington
  • Phone: 484-431-8316
  • Email:

Calarco’s research, including The Pandemic Parenting Study, focuses on how families with young children are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as factors shaping decisions about vaccines. She also recently published an op-ed in The New York Times on parents’ feelings about getting children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Katharine Head

  • Title: Associate professor of communication studies, School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI
  • Phone: 317-278-3760
  • Email:

Head’s research focuses on health communication, including how people communicate about vaccines. She can talk about the importance of getting kids vaccinated, as well as how communication with trusted health care providers can influence COVID-19 vaccine attitudes among parents. She is chair of the advisory committee for the Indiana Immunization Coalition and is a member of the steering committee for the Health Communication Working Group at the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Chandy John

  • Title: Ryan White Endowed Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, IU School of Medicine
  • Phone: 317-274-8940
  • Email:

John’s most recent research has focused on COVID-19 in children, including studies on immunity and asymptomatic infection. John, an expert in malaria, is director of the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health at the IU School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. He can comment on various aspects of COVID-19 vaccination, including health disparities, combating misinformation and the need for children to be vaccinated to end the pandemic.

Nir Menachemi

  • Title: Professor of health policy and management, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI
  • Phone: 317-274-0388
  • Email:

Menachemi is available to speak to parental attitudes related to COVID-19 vaccines for their children, in addition to vaccine effectiveness and safety. An expert in public health, his most recent research has focused on COVID-19, including how the virus has spread in Indiana. Menachemi has published extensive research on health policy and various health topics, as well as the impact of various laws or policies on health outcomes.

Dr. Gregory Zimet

  • Title: Professor of pediatrics and clinical psychology, IU School of Medicine
  • Phone: 317-650-0149
  • Email:

Zimet can comment on parental confidence and hesitancy around vaccinating younger children and some of the challenges associated with the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination. Most recently, he has worked with colleagues on understanding attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination and other behavioral approaches to COVID-19 prevention. This is in addition to his decades of work in studying vaccine acceptance and refusal, primarily around the HPV vaccine.

Media Contact

IU Newsroom

Andrea Zeek

Senior Communications Consultant

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