BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In an effort to get as many teens and young kids vaccinated before school starts next fall, Pfizer announced on Wednesday, March 31, that its vaccine is now safe and effective for kids as young as 12 years old and is aiming to bring the age down even farther in the near future.
Health professionals say this could be the green light.
“The virus neutralizing antibody titers, which is probably the closest thing we have to a surrogate for protection, was super high in the vaccinated group,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital. “So, I think it’s likely a green light to move forward, to move down in terms of vaccinating adolescents 12 to 15.”
Pfizer’s reported data in a US study with 2,200 volunteers ages 12 to 15 shows no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 participants given dummy shots.
One parent who was interviewed was happy to hear the news.
“If it’s proven to be safe and effective and it’s been researched properly, then my husband and I will definitely consider getting our kids vaccinated,” said the mother of two.
However, another parent is still on the fence.
“Because I don’t think the vaccine is 100% safe but I think it can often be safer than getting COVID, so I’d kind of like to look at the statistics of what comes out of these vaccine trials with the kids,” she explained.
The kids in the study had similar side effects to young adults, such as pain, fever, and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. The study will continue to track the participants for two years to get more information about long-term protection and safety.
But Pfizer isn’t alone. Moderna is soon expected to give results from its study on kids 12 to 17. The FDA has already allowed both companies to begin US studies in kids from 11 down to six months old. However, it’s not clear when the FDA would act on Pfizer’s request to allow vaccines for kids starting at 12.
The Louisiana Department of Health said it is encouraged by the new study but will wait to see what the FDA says on this.
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