Pediatrician weighs in on Pfizer vaccine for adolescents

INDIANAPOLIS – Pfizer is awaiting food and drug administration approval to begin administering its vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 15. The approval could take place as early as next week.

A study from Pfizer’s latest clinical trial showed 100% efficacy in more than 2,000 children between 12 and 15 years old in late March.

“Overall, the Pfizer vaccine is incredibly safe, and it really does provide a great deal of protection against COVID,” said Dr. Samina Bhumbra, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, IU Riley Hospital for Children.

Dr. Bhumbra adds that the approval for younger Hoosiers is another step toward increasing those rates as we race towards herd immunity.

“I think the more people we vaccinate, the closer we might get back to a point of normalcy,” said Dr. Bhumbra.

President Joe Biden says if the approval is given, officials will be ready to vaccinate more teens.

“I want American parents to know that when that announcement comes, we are ready to move immediately, move immediately to get about 20,000 pharmacy locations across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents as soon as the FDA clears it,” said President Biden .

Dr. Bhumbra understands that many parents are on the fence as children have not experienced any symptoms or mild symptoms.

“It’s not just about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting others as best we can,” said Dr. Bhumbra.

Still, she and the president agree it’s important to get them vaccinated.

“We know that adolescents are at risk for COVID-19. The most serious illness at that age is rare. They can still get sick and spread the virus and others,” said Dr. Bhumbra.

When it comes to symptoms, Dr. Bhumbra says for younger teens it is like what has been seen in the 16-25 age group.

And what does that mean? It mainly means arm pain, fatigue, muscle pain, ”said Dr. Bhumbra.

Dr. Bhumbra urges anyone with questions to consult their personal physician.

If approved and done well, the FDA will consider emergency use approval for children ages 2 to 11. They hope this can start in September. The trial for children aged 6 months to 11 years is underway.

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