ORLANDO, Fla. – The announcement that Pfizer wants to add teens ages 12 to 15 to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for emergency COVID-19 vaccine approval is welcome news for many parents eager to protect their children from the virus and its variants.
What you need to know
Pfizer seeks FDA approval to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to 12 to 15 year olds
Some parents say they want the vaccine to protect their children
COVID variants can spread easily among young people, health leaders say
Expanding age to qualify is key to developing herd immunity, doctors say
Parents like Mustafa Salehmohamed from Orlando say he is relieved that a vaccine can soon be approved for his children.
“Even though my daughter is relatively healthy, that is not a risk I would like to take. And if there’s a vaccine out there – as a father – that’s a lot of peace of mind, ”Salehmohamed said.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only one approved by the FDA for use in teens 16 and older.
The decision to seek FDA approval to increase age appropriateness in children comes just a week after Pfizer announced that its clinical trials in adolescents 12 to 15 years old were 100 percent effective against COVID-19 and a robust antibody response after vaccination .
That may be necessary in the fight against this pandemic across the country.
While the CDC now reports that more than a third of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine, the United States is still reporting 60,000 new cases of coronavirus per day.
There is also growing concern about the spread of the B.1.1.7 variety, which was first identified in the UK as it is now the dominant species in the US. Health leaders say it can be spread very easily in children.
Doctors say increasing age to be eligible for Pfizer’s vaccine will be important for working on herd immunity to COVID-19.
An infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said that if the FDA grants emergency use approval quickly, the vaccine could become widely available to those children by the start of the next school year.
The FDA says it will review Pfizer’s request and evaluate it as soon as possible.