On May 11th, the Food and Administrative Department (FDA) authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 12 through 15. For those just below the previous 16 threshold for the vaccine, this is a small victory.
This authorization could allow students in grades 7-10 to go back to school and hangout with their friends without their parents worrying. The first coronavirus vaccine was authorized back in December 2020 and since then almost 154 million Americans have received at least the first dose. This means that one in ever three Americans are now vaccinated. Over the past week, the US has averaged fewer than 40,000 new cases per day. This is the first time numbers have dipped to this level since September. Deaths have also been at an all time low since last July, about 600 per day. It has been found that states with the highest vaccination rates are also the ones with the steepest decline in coronavirus cases.
The authorization also helps remove an obstacle from schools grappling with reopening plans. President Biden has said that about 20,000 pharmacies are ready to administer the vaccine to adolescents. For those getting the vaccine, kids are expected to possibly experience mild side effects after either dose, although more so after the second. These side effects could include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain, which typically last 1-3 days.
Although adolescents have had a generally milder COVID course than adults, approximately 1.5 million cases have been reported from those 11-17 through March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021.
That’s more than the whole population of Dallas, Texas.
“[This] action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. Although demands is now slowing, continuing to get more people vaccinated is essential into cementing America’s progress-and the same return to work, school, restaurants and travel that can come with it.
If you are looking for available vaccine appointments, the WNY Vaccine Hound Website is a great resource.
For more information on the FDA’s authorization, go to the FDA’s website.