Coronavirus

Pediatricians say Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Wednesday, a CDC advisory panel will review the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and determine whether to approve the shot for kids ages 12 to 15 years old. The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the vaccine on Monday.

“I’m going to be able to, go more places, uh, without being scared of getting COVID-19. And I’ll be able to feel safer anywhere,” said 14-year-old Jacob Laney.

It’s shot at a return to normal for young teens. On Wednesday morning, some kids were getting ready for their COVID-19 vaccines after a year of coronavirus-related closures.

Pediatricians in Indiana said parents and kids should feel confident in getting the vaccine. Most importantly, they said the shot is safe, effective and can help protect the entire community.

“Children do get infected and that they can spread the virus. So we hope that with this vaccine we can minimize some of that spread, but at the same time to protect children from getting severe disease and having to be hospitalized,” said Dr. John Christenson, a pediatrician and the medical director of Infection Prevention at Riley Hospital for Children.

Dr. Christenson said, while rare, kids have died in Indiana due to COVID-19, and the risk of getting the virus is far worse than any risk of this vaccine.

Currently, Indiana’s virus positivity rate for people 19-years-old and younger is 15.3%.

Pfizer said their COVID-19 vaccine is proven to be 100% effective and well-tolerated by every child in the clinical trial. The FDA has reviewed the data of that clinical trial of more than 2,000 kids in the 12 to 15 age bracket and approved the shot.

Now, CDC advisors will meet on Wednesday to discuss if and how the vaccine should be used in this younger age group. Doctors are confident the CDC will recommend the shot.

“The Pfizer vaccine, we have a lot of information about this vaccine. And we know that it is very safe and is very effective when you look at these 12-15-year-olds that got enrolled in this study.  They had 100% protection against hospitalization, you cannot beat that,” said Dr. Christenson.

Pediatricians said kids are expected to get the same side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine as adults. Children should not get other immunizations within 14 days of getting their shot.

COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds are not expected to begin unless the CDC gives the recommendation Wednesday. If approved, Indiana will open vaccine appointments to the age group on Thursday at 8 a.m. 

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