NORFOLK Va. – Thirteen-year-old Alanna of Norfolk is ready to roll up her sleeve once Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children as young as 12.
Her mother, Kathy Blanchard, said the shot would give the teen peace of mind.
“She would be much more comfortable going out and doing things,” Blanchard said. “She's worried when we go out because she's a germaphobe, so yes, she would definitely take it because she would feel protected.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorized for kids as young as 16, but with the green light from the FDA just days away, those aged 12 to 15 years old could start getting the shot as early as the end of the month.
“We’ve seen some good news come out recently from Pfizer that their trials among 12- to15-year-olds have shown really promising results in terms efficacy and safety,” said Dr. Danny Avula, who leads Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Dr. Avula said immunizing younger people is crucial as COVID-19 cases among the young and unvaccinated continue to rise.
“That’s concerning on one hand because even though they’re not necessarily going to suffer more severe consequences of COVID because younger and healthy people typically don’t, they will continue to spread COVID to pockets of our population who have chosen not to be vaccinated,” he said.
According to Avula, the state Department of Health plans on teaming up with middle schools to help vaccinate that age group, bringing the Commonwealth one step closer to herd immunity hopefully by late summer.
For Blanchard, Pfizer’s drug is a game changer and soon, she’ll no longer worry about her child getting coronavirus.
“It's been proven safe on adults, and I know that they would not use it for the children unless it has gone through the proper channels and approval,” said Blanchard. “Technology is so advanced; I don't understand everybody's fear of not wanting to provide the proper healthcare and security for themselves and their children.”
In the meantime, Moderna is expected to release data from its vaccine trial involving teens as young as 12 soon.