WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve Pfizer’s request to amend its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Right now, its vaccine is available to people aged 16 and older. But come next wee, it could include children as young as 12.
Pediatrician Dr. Amy Seery with Ascension Via Christi says this is huge news. While teens are known to have lower risks, she says these vaccines can have a big impact.
“This particular age group contributes significantly as a super spreader,” Dr. Seery said. “While those who have a low risk and may even have no symptoms, when they have an infection can very easily be the one to help transmit it to multiple people in our community.”
Protecting others, it’s one of the main reasons Andrea Brant is ready to get her 14-year-old son vaccinated.
“We have some elderly people, my mom, my husband’s parents, and it’s important for us to protect them,” Brant said. “So, that we can have them as long as possible so that we can see them whenever we want.”
Other parents are not so sure about giving the vaccine to children.
“If they want to approve it for that age, that’s fine, it doesn’t mean that I would give it to my children,” said Michael Khoury.
The father of three is waiting for more information.
“Just like any kind of medical treatment, where are the risks? What are the benefits? And the problem is I don’t know if we know that answer.”
Dr. Seery says it is understandable to have vaccine hesitancy but wants to reassure people it’s safe. For those questioning emergency use authorization, she says to think of it like a driver’s learning permit.
“You’ve checked off all the boxes that you are a good safe, effective driver, you can follow the rules, etc. — emergencies authorizations are the same thing for vaccines,” said Dr. Seery. “We’ve pretty good safety data, efficacy data, we know that’s going to get a formal authorization down the road.”
While young teens are lower risk, Dr. Seery says that is not true for all.
“We still see individuals who are having severe infections who are getting those long hauler symptoms, and we have plenty of kids in this age group who also have weakened immune systems and underlying health conditions.”
Dr. Seery says there is no evidence of the vaccine causing infertility issues. Her best advice for all parents is to talk to their primary care provider about whether the vaccine is best for their family.