By: Cassandra Spohn
On Monday, health officials announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now safe and effective for children ages 12 through 15 and approved the authorization of the vaccine for emergency use in adolescents.
In a statement regarding Monday’s amendment to the EUA (emergency use authorization), acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. said, “today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”
Though the vaccines still need to be supplied to pediatric offices, Dr. Mona Amin of Pediatric Associates suggests they will be widely available for this age group soon.
“We have supply exceeding demand,” said Dr. Amin. “Distribution has to get organized through pediatric offices to administer the shots at well-visits. I believe this could happen by July, at the latest, and for the new school year,” continued Dr. Amin.
Though arguments can be made for both sides of the vaccination debate, Dr. Amin recommends this newly approved age group receive the vaccine when it becomes available.
“We know kids are not as high of a risk, but the reality is that they can get COVID,” said Dr. Amin. “Though it’s a small percentage, any life lost is a life lost.”
Now that the vaccine has been approved for this younger demographic, a couple of Parkland parents weighed in on whether their child will be getting it.
“My husband and I are not against vaccines,” stated Dana Klein, a Parkland resident, and mother of three. “All of my kids are vaccinated, as well as my husband and me. I am not a fan of new vaccines and felt the same about the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine when that first came out.” Klein said they waited to vaccinate their oldest daughter; however, they decided not to get their youngest vaccinated at this time.
Parkland resident Mandy Sheridan has a different opinion regarding the vaccine for her son, who is ventilator dependent.
“My kids aren’t in the age range yet, but as soon as they are, they will be the first in line to get the vaccine,” said Sheridan. “Our entire family has been stuck inside our home for over a year because our doctors repeatedly tell us that COVID would seriously harm or possibly kill my son.”
Children ages 12 through 15 will receive the vaccine as those 16 and up; through two doses, three weeks apart. The results in a clinical trial showed that side effects within this age group were consistent with those who are 16 and older receiving the vaccine.
Though studies continue to take place with more information being discovered every day, families are cautious when it comes to the safety of their children.
“The benefits outweigh the risk when looking at real-world data showing safety and effectiveness,” stated Dr. Amin. “We are taking a known, low risk with the vaccine versus the unknown risk of getting COVID in the community.”
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