CDC approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12–15 year-olds

SPOKANE, Wash. — Kids as young as 12 years old are now approved to get the Pfizer vaccine.

COVID-19 may not spread as much among kids, but now those as young as 12 can get their shot of protection against this virus.

“They still can suffer very severe consequences, not only health-wise, but it takes them out of school. It sets them back educationally, potentially,” said Dr. Gretchen LaSalle of MultiCare.

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved under the same emergency use authorization granted to adults. The clinical trials were all followed the same way, too; going through each phase needed to test the vaccine and its effectiveness among kids.

Many experts didn’t believe kids would be vaccinated until the fall, but the nation moves ahead of schedule while many kids are back in class full time.

“Studies show that kids who are back in school full time tend to drive infections in their families and communities,” LaSalle said. “Kids who are in school part-time to a lesser degree but still.”

The CDC panel said Wednesday hospital visits are higher among teens with COVID than teens who had the H1N1 virus during that pandemic. That’s one reason why Dr. Brent Albertson, a Providence Health pharmacotherapist, will waste no time getting his son vaccinated once he turns 12 later this month.

“He really wants it for the same reasons that an adult would, he wants to go out and feel safe around town and hangout with his friends again,” Albertson said.

After more than a year of suffering through this pandemic, many parents can relate to how special it will be to have that peace of mind for their kids’ safety.

“Of all the things that I’ve done, that’ll be the coolest,” Albertson said.

Washington is almost ready to vaccinate 12 to 15-year-olds, the Western States Scientific Group is reviewing the data now and will likely approve this change by Thursday.

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