FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15

UNDATED – COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has now been widened for children ages 12 and up.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, bolstering chances for a safe return to full-time school in the fall. Vaccinations for 12-15-year-olds may start later this week after the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorses recommendations on distribution plans.

The FDA has authorized the same dosing for 12- to 15-year-olds as adults with the Pfizer two-dose vaccine.

The FDA determined the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has met all of the criteria required which concluded that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older outweigh the vaccines known and potential risks

All people in America 16 years and older are already eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and anyone 18 years and older is eligible for Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer, which is currently conducting clinical trials with children as young as 6 months old, has said it will likely seek an emergency use authorization for its vaccine for children ages 2 to 11 in September.

While have not been as many deaths from COVID-19 among children, kids can still get the virus, and can transmit the virus to adults.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported this week that children now make up 22.4 percent of all new weekly cases, and more than 3.7 million children have been diagnosed during the pandemic.

Adolescents experienced a similar range of side effects as seen in older teens and young adults – generally cold-like symptoms in the two to three days after the second dose.

Parents who were hesitant to vaccinate their children should speak to their pediatricians.

Pfizer announced in late March that its clinical trials showed the vaccine was safe and 100 percent effective in children ages 12-15, similar to the 95 percent efficacy among adult clinical trial participants.