ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida counties could begin administering the Pfizer coronavirus vaccines to children between 12 and 15 years old as soon as next week but officials say there is still a lot of preparation to begin those efforts.
U.S. regulators on Monday expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12, offering a way to protect the nation’s adolescents before they head back to school in the fall and paving the way for them to return to more normal activities.
Shots could begin as soon as Thursday around the U.S., after a federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. The Food and Drug Administration declared that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15.
Seminole County’s Emergency Manager Alan Harris said nurses need to be trained to vaccinated the county’s youngest residents and there are other things to consider.
“If there’s any adjustments to the dose, which I don’t know if there is or not, of course they need to know what that is,” Harris said.
He also said training could include new questions that need to be asked for those in the 12 to 15 age group.
While the vaccine administration could start next week, Harris said this week they’ve already been getting phone calls from parents wanting to be the first in line to get their child vaccinated.
He said some even tried to book an appointment for their children.
“We’ve already had a couple of people jump the gun,” Harris said.
He said they expect to launch appointments this Thursday or Friday for parents to be able to schedule their child’s vaccination next week.
Medical Director for Seminole County Dr. Todd Husty said with this age group he also expects parents of those children to get vaccinated.
“I think our vaccine numbers are going to go way up,” Husty said.
He said they’ve had a lot of interest from parents who have been on the fence but are now going to get the vaccine with their child.
Husty also said there’s a sense of urgency to get children vaccinated before the school year ends, because the school provides an opportunity to reach every child that wants a vaccine.
Harris said they plan to have vaccination events at some of the school next week and are looking at Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday after school, so that parents can meet their child and provide consent.