FDA Gives Emergency Authorization For Pfizer COVID Shot In Kids 12-15

Now, what do parents need to do?

FDA Gives Emergency Authorization For Pfizer COVID Shot In Kids 12-15
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

12-to-15-year-olds are now on the list of those who can get a COVID vaccine. For parents of tweens and teens like Erin Turner, it’s welcome news. 

"First, I am really sick of living the way we do. Second, I believe in the science behind it; if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for my children. And third, these children have already lost out on so much."

The FDA’s emergency authorization of Pfizer’s MRNA vaccine comes after a study of 2,200 showed it was safe and worked as it did in older people. Doctors say there's no evidence this vaccine will affect development or fertility long-term.

“There's no mechanics for a vaccine to have a long-term effect. Once it's done its job, it's gone. it's no longer in your body. All you have left are the antibodies to spike proteins; there is no vaccine left," said Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals said. 

"The efficacy of the vaccine in [kids aged] 12 to 15 years old was essentially 100%, and it was really quite safe," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president. 

Fauci said the vaccine will be available for kids “almost immediately”.  

As for what’s next, an advisory committee from the CDC meets Wednesday on whether to recommend vaccines for the 12-15 age group. Most doctors will look to that before putting shots into arms. 

Kids younger than 12 still have to wait. Trials are staggered and going on for younger age groups because kids' immune systems are very different from 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12. 

An advisory group for the FDA meets next in June about COVID vaccines for those under 12. Health experts tell Newsy they think at this point, kids 12 and under are looking at getting vaccines end of 2021, early 2022. 

Parents should call their pediatrician to ask where to get children vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics tells me some pediatricians are administering COVID-19 vaccines within their practice, while others are coordinating with public health departments and other places to make sure their patients have access to the vaccine. However vaccinated, parents should talk about it with their pediatrician so their child’s medical record can be up to date.

Lindsey Theis, Newsy, San Francisco.