JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – U.S. regulators on Monday expanded the use of the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 12 to 15 -- which may allow millions of youngsters to get back to school, attend camps and sleepovers, and hang out with friends.
Jacob Laney, 14, said he got vaccinated first thing Tuesday morning so he could go about his life with peace of mind.
“My friend got COVID-19, and it did not look fun at all beause he was always tired and had aches everywhere,” Laney said. “I’m going to be able to go more places without being scared of getting COVID-19 and I’ll be able to feel safer anywhere.”
A federal vaccine advisory committee still must issue recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. An announcement is expected Wednesday.
While some 12- to 15-year-olds were already getting Pfizer shots less than a day after the Food and Drug Administration gave the two-dose vaccine emergency use authorization for that age group, most communities were waiting for a federal advisory committee that meets Wednesday to sign off on the move, the Associated Press reports.
″Kids are a reservoir for the disease. We will not reach herd immunity if they aren’t vaccinated,” said Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, a pediatrician at UF Health.
Goldhagen said the vaccine is very safe for young people. He points out that teenagers may experience side effects from the double dose.
“It would not be inappropriate to expect that they will have side effects, fever, soreness at the sight of injection. It doesn’t seem like it’s any more significant than young adults,” Goldhagen said.
Goldhagen expects even younger children will be authorized to receive the vaccine soon.
″Within several months, I assume, kids as young as 6 months of age, the vaccine will be available to them -- maybe not quite that young, but, yes, younger kids will have access to the vaccine,” Goldhagen said.
Goldhagen said one of the biggest misconceptions about the new authorization of the Pfizer vaccine is that it’s new. It is not a new vaccine itself, instead, the only thing new is the age group that is eligible to receive it.