Experts in the media: UConn Doctor Has Advice for Parents About COVID Vaccine for Kids 12-15May 12, 20213 min read
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization to administer Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12 years old. Coronavirus vaccine providers in Connecticut have started to open up appointments for this age group, and Dr. Jody Terranova, a pediatrician from the UConn School of Medicine, has answers to the questions parents might have.
Q: Why has the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12 years of age?
A: Pfizer completed its clinical trials on children 12-15 years old and submitted the data to the FDA in March. The FDA has been reviewing that data for safety and effectiveness. The data shows that it is extremely effective and well-tolerated with similar side effects as adults. We have seen so far that the vaccine is just as safe in 12-to-15-year-olds as it is in 16 and up.
Q: How soon will the vaccine be available to Connecticut children 12-15 years of age?
A: It will be available immediately. Many of our current vaccination sites have Pfizer on hand and will be able to offer it to the younger age group right away. The expectation is that pharmacies and community vaccination sites run by our various healthcare systems across the state will be able to provide it within days. School-based clinics may be offered as an option as well.
Q: Are there any safety concerns children and their parents need to keep top of mind post-vaccination?
A: Similar to other vaccines and similar to the response we saw in older children and adults, the most common side effects are going to be pain at the injection site, fever, generalized fatigue or body aches. All of these resolve within a day or so and can be treated with over-the-counter medications if needed.
Q: In our battle against COVID-19, why is it so critical for more youth to get vaccinated?
A: There are a couple of reasons why it is critically important for our children to be vaccinated. The first is that while we have not seen children impacted as severely as older adults, they can still get quite sick from COVID-19 and suffer from its longer-term complications. Second, with children representing 20-25% of the communities they live in, we will never get close enough to herd immunity to stop the community spread without vaccinating a large number of children too.
Q: For parents who may be on the fence about getting their young children vaccinated, or even themselves still, what’s your message to them as a pediatrician?
A: We know that the vaccines are very safe. We have seen millions of people across the country and the world receive these vaccines. We know that COVID-19 is still in the community and can still cause great harm to individuals. Our fastest path back to normalcy and reducing the spread and the rise of new variants of COVID-19 is by vaccinating all of us
If you’re a journalist looking to cover COVID-19 and the vaccination roll-out that now includes children and teens – then let us help. Dr. Terranova is available to speak with media – simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.
Jody Terranova Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Jody Terranova is an expert in the field of pediatrics and Graduate Medical Education