CDC Recommends Pfizer COVID Shot For Kids Ages 12-15

The CDC is telling providers to give the shot with the understanding there's a possibility it could react with other common vaccines.

CDC Recommends Pfizer COVID Shot For Kids Ages 12-15
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

The CDC is saying yes: doctors and nurses can give kids 12-15 years old the Pfizer COVID vaccine. 

In Georgia, 12-year-old Jane Ellen Norman was ready to get her shot. 

"I hope that they all get vaccinated and so we can see each other," she said. 

As younger and younger groups get the go-ahead, how these vaccines could interact with other common adolescent vaccines is a concern.

The CDC is including guidance language saying health care providers should consider that giving multiple shots at the same time could result in a bad reaction. 

"Adding a COVID vaccine to their schedule really will be minimal, and we will be able to get that in their arms, so to speak, hopefully very soon," Deborah Bush, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, said.

This comes as nearly a quarter of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in the U.S. are among kids and teens. So, why is this happening? As more adults are vaccinated, children and teens make up more cases. 

"Many of them just have mild disease. It's important to remember that a few -- a handful of them have been developing something called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, and that's a really, really severe illness where they have a hyper inflammatory state, high fevers," said Dr. Priya Soni, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. 

Pfizer’s extra cold storage needs are a challenge as the shots open up to younger age groups.

"Pfizer's allowed people to keep it at normal freezer temperatures for two weeks, but giving out 1,200 doses of vaccine in two weeks is very difficult. And so we do have an ultra-low freezer ... where are you able to store it for up to six months," Dr. Andrew J. Carroll, a family medicine physician for Banner Health, said. 

"Not as many primary care offices, small doctor offices, have these high-tech, deep sub-zero freezers," Busch said. 

So, if your kids fall into this age group and get a vaccine, a couple of other helpful tips for after the shot: The CDC says it's OK to give age-appropriate Motrin or Tylenol if they’re feeling achy after, but not before. The CDC plans to continue to follow studies on how long immunity will last and booster shots. And parents can register their kids in V-safe, the CDC's after-shot health checker.

Lindsey Theis, Newsy, San Francisco.