WACO, Texas – With the FDA announcing anyone from the ages of twelve to 15 are eligible to be given the Pfizer COVID vaccine, local medical professionals are seeing the benefits.
“Vaccinating this very vulnerable population will all help us achieve the goal of beating COVID,” McLane Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. George Dubrocq said.
Teenagers have largely been seen as a low-risk COVID population, but their interaction with several different age ranges make them more likely to be carriers of the virus than to be affected by it.
“We can get this group vaccinated that is so active,” McLennan County Public Health District spokesperson Kelly Craine said. “They’re acting with large age groups, the younger kids, they’re interacting with adults, every day of their life they’re doing a lot of different things. They’re really a very active social group.”
Vaccines were first only advised for people 16 or older, but doctors say the FDA is now approving it for younger people only after prolonged testing.
“Many times when we do clinical trials. We test it in healthy adults, and then we try to figure out what dosage works and how effective it is,” Dubrocq said. “Usually once we find that it’s safe and effective in adults, we move on to children.”
While transitioning a drug or vaccine for use by children, there are plenty of tests to pass.
“With children, we have a lot more stringent standards,” Dubrocq said. “Safety is number one to the FDA when it comes to children.”
While the FDA says the vaccine has been approved for “emergency use” in teenagers, the Public Health District says they can get their vaccine shots just like adults.
Vaccines may even be approved for younger children as testing continues – much younger children.
“It would be great if they could go down to six months of age,” Dubrocq said. “Just imagine when you go to get your flu shot at six months, you could also get the COVID shot. There are already companies that are trying to combine those two technologies together.”
Local doctors hope to be administering vaccines to the new age groups by the end of this week.