FDA could authorize Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-18 by next week

JOPLIN, Mo. – The FDA could authorize Pfizer’s vaccine for those ages 12 to 15 as early as next week.

With potential FDA authorization on the way for Pfizer’s vaccine for a younger age group, some are challenging ‘conflicting’ information that’s been put out in the past, which says kids are less susceptible to COVID. Mercy’s Infectious Disease Preventionist Donna Stokes, explains why the vaccine is important for the 12-15 age group. “Adolescents, they can acquire COVID, their symptoms may be mild but we do know that they can also develop significant and severe illness, so, if we can prevent that number 1, we certainly want to do that.”

Stokes says it goes beyond just keeping the kids well. “They can have mild illness, asymptomatic and don’t even know that they’re contagious, so if we can prevent that, we can prevent their contact with other people that are susceptible and prevent that transmission of illness.”

Rebecca West has a 15 year old and a 16 year old at home. Says she believes in vaccines, and she and her teens get the flu shot every year. “As a parent I feel that it’s safe, my 16 year old’s already got her vaccine and no side effects.”

West says it’s important to her to keep them safe. “Anything to keep your child from getting any illness I believe is needed.”

In our post on Facebook, more than 250 people responded weighing in on both sides. Many parents agree with west about getting the vaccine to kids.

But not everyone does. Charlene says “I think it’s child abuse and utter ignorance to vaccinate children for a virus with a 99% recovery rate.” Kimberli raised concerns about side effects, saying “With how sick it is making adults after getting it, why would you willingly put your child through that?”

Stokes says pediatricians are a great asset for parents. “I think our pediatricians are going to be key in helping us explain the pros and cons to parents, obviously they’re going to have to consent to have their children immunized, so we want them to be well educated.”

Stokes says it’s too early right now to know if additional authorizations will come for children younger than age 12, but that trials are already underway.