MISSION, Kan. – US regulators on Tuesday began vaccinating younger teenagers at parents, schools and vaccine clinics after supporting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children at the age of 12. country.
A handful of cities began offering shots to children between the ages of 12 and 15, a day after the Food and Drug Administration granted the Vaccine Emergency Use Authority for that age group. Most communities were waiting for a federal advisory committee that met on Wednesday to sign the move, while concerned families called clinics and pharmacies to ask for appointments as soon as possible.
In Atlanta, 12-year-old Jane Allen Norman received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday morning. The girl said she expected “a little bit more freedom”.
Her mother, English Norman, said she also immediately booked an appointment for her 14-year-old son, after learning that on Monday, the FDA now approved the vaccine for about 17 million 12- to 15-year-olds in the US. Has been declared safe. The entire family, including Norman’s husband, a physician, and their 17-year-old son, have begun the vaccination process.
The 52-year-old artist said, “We’re five for five.”
The official sign-off on vaccine use in the 12–15 age group will not take place until at least Wednesday, when the Committee for Disease Control and Prevention meets. Local governments that were immediately beginning to give shots saw the FDA’s decision on Monday to start the process as a green light.
“After being approved by the FDA, under all relevant legal authorities, a prescriber is allowed to prescribe the vaccine,” said Kelly Kofranisco, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
In the Kansas City area, Children’s Mercy Hospital has run vaccine clinics for 16- to 21-year-olds since last month and plans to expand them to cover younger children soon. Dr. Ryan McDonough, a pediatrician who oversees the COVID-19 vaccine clinics, said he has been seduced by calls from patients and texts from friends and relatives wanting to sign up his children.
“It’s about being normal,” McDonough said. “It is about getting your child to school five days a week. It is about to see grandma and grandfather. It is about getting back to the games. It is about normalcy, and people only want to go back to pre-pandemic life. “
Iowa-based grocery store chain Hy-Vee, which has 278 stores in eight Midwestern states, was looking to start offering vaccines to young teens as soon as Thursday. Hy-Vee spokeswoman Christina Guyon said interest among parents has strengthened, which allows stores to be deleted with calls and emails after the vaccine is signed by the FDA.
“Some people tried to go ahead and go online and make an appointment,” she said. “But we know those individuals at the moment, ‘Hey, we can’t vaccinate that age group yet.”
Meanwhile, Chicago said it was ready to start vaccinating people between 12 and 15, but would start taking shots from Thursday. The city’s public health commissioner, Drs. Allison Arvadi said communities with the lowest vaccination rates continue to have the highest COVID-19 cases and hospitalization and death rates – even among teens and young adults.
“Help us grow the vaccine and get COVID by bringing your entire family together to get vaccinated,” Urvadi urged in a news release.
Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Goluska was ready. For more than a year, he and his friends have celebrated birthdays and holidays at a distance. The teenagers left gifts outside each other’s homes as a replacement for the parties they planned and then canceled as epidemics. Elizabeth said she missed dancing competitions and chatting with friends at lunch at Batavia High School in the western suburbs of Chicago.
“All I want is to be able to get back to a normal high school experience, like a homecoming dance and being able to have lunch with friends,” she said.
Dr. Monica Verdusco-Gutierrez said her son Nicholas had hoped to be part of the clinical trials for Pfizer, but they were no longer signing participants until the boy’s 12th birthday. The family moved to San Antonio this summer when Verdusco-Gutierrez accepted a new job and found it difficult for Nicholas to make friends or find much.
Attending in-person classes helped, but the school does not have much time to socialize. He said, there is no ease with masks and social distancing.
“It would be really nice to say,” Hey, wanna get ice cream or something? ” Nicholas said.
But not everyone is keen. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only three out of 10 parents aged 12–15 say they would get their child vaccinated as soon as possible. One-quarter said that they would wait a while to see how the vaccine is working.
Indianapolis parent Inna Acaus said it was a “no-brainer” for her and her husband to curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves. But after conducting a risk-benefit analysis, she does not plan to vaccinate the couple’s two sons, ages 13 and 10.
Ekhaus said her boys, who are otherwise healthy, received COVID-19 in October and reported only minor symptoms.
The 38-year-old tech worker said, “For children, I don’t think that has been done to show long-term effects, and children’s bodies are still developing.”
Foodie and Tauren contributed to Chicago, and Angie Wang contributed to Atlanta.