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Vaccine available for those 12 and up

SAT. | 06-05-21 | NEWS

     On May 10, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15. On May 12, 2021, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky released a direct statement on this action that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine and its use on adolescents ages 12 to 15.

     “This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19,” Walensky said.  “Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected.”

     While the age requirement has changed, the registration and screening process to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be the same as it is for adults 18 and up who have previously received the Pfizer vaccine. Clinic trials are still underway to test the overall safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 12. While many colleges and universities have made the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement for students before they return to campus, public health experts say that it’s unlikely for K-12 students to have to meet that standard any time soon. 

     “The common immune responses, such as arm soreness, fever, fatigue and temporary swollen lymph nodes, are essentially the same


Graphic by A'nyia Clemons

for children as adults,” Daniel-Yount said. “Efficacy for the twelve through fifteen-year-old group was one hundred percent [and] while the vaccine is very effective for adults, it is even more effective for the twelve through fifteen-year-old group [and] in children, the immune response is robust and has been found to be even better than the young adults ages 16 to 25.”

     Aside from Children’s Health Services, many other health and wellness facilities such as Vidant, CVS & Walgreen’s all of Pitt County are currently giving the Pfizer vaccine to adolescents ages 12 to 15. Other health facilities will soon offer vaccinations for the age group of twelve through fifteen-year-olds. The Moderna vaccine has been approved for people 18 and up and that is offered at the Pitt County Public Health Center.

     “So far, only the Pfizer studies for age twelve through fifteen have been completed and data reviewed by the CDC and FDA [and] both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have studies underway for this age group and for children as young as six months of age, but the research and review process is still in process,” Daniel-Yount said. “Results of phase two & three trials for the Moderna vaccine are promising for the twelve through seventeen-year-old group, but the company hasn’t applied for EUA from the FDA yet.”

     Many health care officials including Daniel-Yount, believe the new age approval is an important step in getting out of the pandemic. These healthcare officials hope to strengthen the nation’s efforts in protecting our people from the effects of COVID-19 by lowering the age and allowing more people to receive the vaccine. Widespread immunization will also allow most children to safely return to in-person instruction.

     “This is a piece of the puzzle that leads us to a fully open economy, businesses, schools, camps, travel and life,” Daniel-Yount said. “Widespread vaccination is a much smarter way to reach herd immunity than widespread disease [and] I was able to review the data myself and feel confident in recommending the vaccine for my patients and my own children.”

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