ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for younger children as soon as this week.
Orlando pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones said she is looking forward to expanding vaccine eligibility to younger people.
“I have a 12-year-old son who’s been home during the pandemic doing virtual school, and we would love for him to get back to school start the seventh grade at school and back to all of his wonderful activities,” Jones said.
Pfizer is expected to get emergency use authorization as soon as this week to start vaccinating children ages 12 to 15. Jones said children make up 22% of the nation’s COVID-19 cases and they represent a quarter of the U.S population.
“So, it makes sense that they can play an integral (part) of helping to end this pandemic through vaccination,” she said.
In Seminole County, emergency manager Alan Harris said they’re already preparing for the expanded eligibility. He said they are keeping the large vaccine site at the Oviedo Mall open for a couple more weeks so they can start putting shots in teens’ arms.
“We anticipate the vote will be on Wednesday. By the time we start giving shots it could be Saturday, maybe the following week,” Harris said. “But for that week, lots of appointments available at the Oviedo Mall to handle the 28,000 roughly 12 to 15-year-olds in the county.”
Harris said they are also planning mobile vaccination sites at area high schools.
This comes as Pfizer is seeking full approval from the FDA, which would be the first fully authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. for people 16 and older.
In the meantime, Jones said she is encouraging parents of her patients to get their kids vaccinated when its their turn. She adds children will play a huge role in reaching herd immunity.
“I think there’s enough adults that are not getting it that we’re going to have to have some input from our children,” Jones said.