By: Ayaan Ahmad — Correspondent
After months of testing, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved for teens 12 through 15 years of age.
On May 10, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the eligibility of the Pfizer Vaccine for individuals as young as 12 after demonstrating a 100% rate of effectiveness among a test group of 1,005 people.
It is important for parents to know that the Moderna Vaccine is still only authorized for individuals ages 18 and older, however, they are planning to receive FDA approval for 12-17 by early June. To ensure that the age guidelines are met, everybody receiving the vaccine under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while getting the shot.
With this news, a commonly asked question among parents is whether or not their child will be safe receiving the vaccine. Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says that the vaccine has been tested enough times to ensure safety among teens.
“With science guiding our evaluation and decision-making process, the FDA can assure the public and the medical community that the available data meet our rigorous standards to support the emergency use of this vaccine in the adolescent population 12 years of age and older,” said Marks.
As for side effects, every teen is different. The FDA reports that while some individuals experience side effects following any vaccination, not everybody will have the same experience and some people may not even experience side effects at all.
According to the FDA, side effects in teens last around 1-3 days after the shot and are usually milder than with adults. The most commonly reported side effects in adolescents are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever, and joint pain. It is also important to note that most individuals tended to have worse side effects after the second shot as opposed to the first shot.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encourages everybody over the age of 12 to get the vaccine as soon as possible. She says that doing this is vital in speeding up the time to return back to a normal life.
“For vaccination to do its job, we must do our critical part. That means vaccinating as many people as possible who are eligible. This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19,” she said. “Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected.”
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D., agrees that this is an important step in slowing the virus. “Today’s 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,” Woodcock said.
image from people.com