The FDA Approves Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID Vaccine for Kids 12 to 15
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a request from Pfizer and BioNTech allowing their Covid-19 vaccine to be administered to kids ages 12 to 15, allowing states to vaccinate middle school students before the fall.
According to public health officials and infectious disease experts, the U.S. agency's approval of the shot for adolescents should also boost the nation's efforts to reduce infections.
A meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee was scheduled for Wednesday to review the two-dose vaccine for children. If approved by the CDC as expected, it could be distributed as soon as this week.
The companies said the vaccine was effective in clinical trials with more than 2,000 teenagers and elicited a "robust" antibody response. The added side effects were generally similar to those seen in adults.
To end the pandemic, health officials and experts say vaccines are crucial because of the potential for herd immunity. That's when enough people have antibodies against a particular disease that society as a whole is mostly immune to it. That cannot be achieved with COVID-19 until children are vaccinated.
Approximately 20% of the U.S. population is children. Experts say that between 70% and 85% of the populace needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity. However, some adults may refuse the vaccination, and herd immunity looks increasingly unlikely as variants spread.
Vaccinating your child may also enable them to participate in after-school activities like sports, arts, and other in-person activities.
Parents may be relieved that their kids can get vaccinated, but some health experts have questioned whether they should save vaccines for children who are seen as less at risk for severe disease. Meanwhile, more at-risk people around the world remain unprotected.
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