Where (and when) to get your 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated, plus advice from a pediatrician

Where (and when) to get your 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated, plus advice from a pediatrician

Aïda Amer/Axios

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The FDA and CDC have approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in 12- to 15-year-olds, and local healthcare providers say they’ll be able to start offering the vaccine to eligible kids as early as today.

Situational awareness: Healthcare providers were awaiting the CDC advisory committee’s Wednesday vote, which gave final approval to use the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.

  • Previously, healthcare experts advised children not to get any routine vaccine along with a COVID vaccine in the same two-week period, but during the vote on Wednesday the CDC panel announced that the two-week wait is no longer necessary.

Why it matters: The more people that get vaccinated, the more our community is protected from COVID. Kids getting vaccinated could also have positive implications for school systems that haven’t fully reopened. Until now only 16- and 17-year-olds have been vaccine eligible.

  • Novant Dr. David Priest says the vaccine works well across different age groups.
  • “Adolescents will respond very vigorously to vaccines and that’s really exciting, because it means they’re going to be protected, protected quickly and hopefully for longer periods of time than older folks. All the more reason that people in that age group ought to be vaccinated to protect other parts of our community and prevent COVID spread,” he said during a briefing last week.

Details: The two-shot Pfizer vaccine offered to 12- to 15-year-olds will be the same as the vaccine offered to adults. During trials, kids who took the Pfizer vaccine experienced similar symptoms as adults.

But, Atrium’s Dr. Lyn Nuse says it’s not recommended that kids (or anyone else) pre-medicate before receiving a vaccine because it can lower their immune response.

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By the numbers: Axios/Ipsos data show that parents are split nearly 50-50 on whether they will allow their children to get vaccinated as soon as possible, Axios’ Marisa Fernandez writes.

Nuse says she understands parents who have concerns about vaccinating their kids, but the benefits of the vaccine for children outweigh the risks of COVID.

  • “We hear a lot about how children aren’t as affected by COVID. Doesn’t mean that they’re absolutely not affected,” Nuse said. “The children who get COVID are seeing long-term symptoms similar to what we’re seeing in adults.”

Kids age 12 to 15 can access the vaccine through their pediatrician and or any other healthcare facility/clinic where Pfizer vaccines are offered.

Most Charlotte healthcare providers are no longer requiring appointments for vaccines, as supply has caught up to, and in many cases exceeded, demand. [Go deeper]

Note: North Carolina doesn’t require parental consent for minors when receiving medical health services for the prevention or treatment of communicable disease, but individual providers can create their own requirements for minors.

What’s next: Trials fo COVID vaccines in children under 12 are ongoing. Younger children could be eligible for a vaccine as early as this fall.

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