FDA Approves Pfizer Vaccine For Younger Teens
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for use in teenagers ages 16 and up in December by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Then in late March, Pfizer said their Phase 3 clinical trial data showed that its Covid-19 vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing the illness in children 12 to 15 years old. The FDA announced on Monday that those vaccinations can finally begin. The company said the vaccine is generally safe for children, with minimal side effects, such as a slight fever or sore arm, doctors say releasing the full data will be important to increasing confidence in the safety of the shots.
A new post on the FDA’s website calls the approval “a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows for a younger population to be protected from Covid-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”
Last week, President Joe Biden said in remarks at the White House that the administration was “ready to move immediately to make about 20,000 pharmacy sites across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents as soon as the FDA grants its OK.”
The administration also plans to send vaccines directly to pediatricians’ offices, where parents may feel more comfortable discussing their children’s shots. The vaccinations will also be available at other sites, such as community centers.
From March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, about 1.5 million adolescents, ages 11-17, were diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although young people generally don’t die from COVID-19 or get as sick as older adults, 13% of those hospitalized with the virus have been under 18, and adolescents represent a bigger chunk than younger kids.