Coronavirus

FDA to green light Pfizer vaccine for adolescents, doctor says authorization is key to herd immunity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is slated to authorize emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15.

The approval is set to be announced publicly early next week.

Findings from the company’s ongoing study show the vaccine is 100% efficacious and demonstrates a “robust antibody response” in this group.

News 8 spoke with Dr. W. Graham Carlos, chief of internal medicine at Eskenazi Health, who says that while the expected authorization did come quickly, the vaccine is built upon decades of research. This should give parents and caregivers reassurance it is safe.

“The mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer vaccine have been in development for many years,” Carlos said. “It just took us some time to take the technology that we learned and apply it to the coronavirus. We had to know the target to create it, which is why it came to market so quickly. We already had the technology.”

About 22% of reported cases are in adolescents, he says. It makes sense because much of the older population is vaccinated. However, the virus is still spreading and mutating. If parents decide against vaccinating their children, this could put any chance of herd immunity in jeopardy.

“I’ve had patients in my clinic who think it was rushed or corners were cut,” Carlos added. “And obviously so, because there was such a quick turnaround. I would just assure them that — again — the technology … the fact that we are using mRNA to target the virus … that technology has been used for over 10 years. All we needed was to identify that it was SARS-CoV-2 and that crown … that spike protein … was the target. And we just applied the technology to create the vaccine. So, this has been something that has been worked on and studied and trialed in tens of thousands of people.”

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