Colorado doctor urges kids 12 to 15 get COVID vaccine once available

COVID-19 Vaccine

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old sometime early next week.

In Colorado, the logistical details are still being worked out, but in the past, once it is approved, it is almost immediately available.

Children’s Hospital Colorado is prepared once it is approved and says the system they have in place currently for those 16 and up will continue.

“It is wonderful and exciting news for children. The more we can open access to more children, (it’s) wonderful news for all of us,” said Dr. Sam Dominguez. “There are logistical challenges with the Pfizer vaccine in particular, with temperature and storage constraints, so we are hoping other providers will be providing it as well, but we don’t know yet how other places will be doing that.”

He said parents should be confident it is safe for children.

“We are still watching for any serious side effects from these vaccines. So far, the vast majority of people are doing extremely well, very little adverse signals. We don’t have tons of data for 12 to 16-year-olds, but the data we do have is reassuring,” Dominguez said. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is watching the developments closely as well.

“Our goal is to get all eligible Coloradans vaccinated as quickly as possible to put an end to the crisis caused by this pandemic. If the FDA and CDC provide updated guidance, the state’s public health leaders will review the guidance and quickly take the appropriate next steps to best protect public health. Our Joint Vaccine Task Force is nimble, and we will update our vaccine protocols as quickly as possible if further authorizations are provided under guidance from the FDA and CDC.

Upon authorization, any vaccine provider that receives a Pfizer allocation will be able to administer the vaccine to that age group. Our community vaccination sites also will be able to administer the vaccine to individuals 12-15 when the time comes. We are working with our providers to prepare for this potential authorization as well,” Jessica Bralish, CDPHE’s director of communications said in a statement to FOX31.

More than 131 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine have already been administered in the U.S., Ron Rutherford said.

“The more people are vaccinated, the faster the spread of the disease will stop, and things will get more back to normal. I think if it goes through the FDA process, I have confidence in that. The rigor they put that through to ensure it is safe and effective before they approve it,” said Rutherford.

His 18-year-old son is still debating if he will get the vaccine.

“I kind of have mixed feelings about it. I think anybody can if you want it, can get it. If not, do at your own discretion. I feel everybody should go about it their own way. I’m just kind of in the middle, just debating back and forth. I will probably end up getting it, but we’ll see,” said Austin Rutherford.

Pfizer isn’t the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Moderna is testing its vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds. And the FDA has authorized both Pfizer and Moderna to start testing children 11 and younger.

Pediatricians say it’s important to protect children against COVID.

“We have to remember kids do get sick from COVID. We are seeing more kids with more serious disease so we do are aware children can get sick with this disease. Some can get more serious MIS-C. We are hoping the vaccine can protect against that complication as well,” said Dominguez. 

He added, “So 12 and up, that should get most of our middle schoolers and high schoolers to make the equation for school much smoother in terms of bringing kids back to more normal school environment.”

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