PHILADELPHIA - Just one day after Pfizer received authorization to begin vaccinating children ages 12 to 15, Montgomery and Bucks counties began administering doses.
On Tuesday, Montgomery County received over 300 registrations for children and there were even walk-ups. Health officials say it is both critical and imperative to vaccinate children in order to mitigate current COVID-19 case rates.
There were many questions to be had about the efficacy and safety of vaccinating children as young as 12 despite the authorization from the FDA.
Many parents had questions that were answered by Dr. Susan E. Coffin from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She explained why it is important to vaccinate teens and preteens.
Still, the rush to vaccinate children might come as a shock and the Advisory Committee (ACIP) on Immunization Practices says that it scheduling is up to the prescribers.
"Since ACIP does not have any role in determining whether we begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to those 12 and up starting today, we chose to move ahead. Our goal remains to continue to get as many shots in arms as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Children make up roughly 13% of COVID-19 cases that have been documented in the country, according to officials. At least 268 have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone and more than 13,500 have been hospitalized, according to figures shared by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Food and Drug Administration declared 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. The study found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among kids given dummy shots.
More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.
The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech recently requested similar authorization in the European Union, with other countries to follow.
A spokesperson for the Montgomery County says the FDA’s approval was enough to start vaccinating kids and their goal remains to continue to get as many shots in arms as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A Bucks County commissioner confirms they, too, started vaccinating kids ages 12 through 15 at county-run clinics Tuesday.
Delaware and Chester County leaders are working to open up certain clinics for the shots, but only once they get approval from the commonwealth and CDC.
Across the Delaware River in New Jersey, Camden County has 3,500 Pfizer doses ready to go at their vaccination center.
"As soon as the state tells us it’s okay, we will begin vaccinating kids between 12 and 15," Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. stated.
"I can say for myself, I wouldn’t put anything on my child that I wouldn’t first put in myself and, so, my children will be receiving it," Found of Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium Dr. Ala Stanford remarked.
Dr. Stanford offered her support on FOX 29’s Good Day Philadelphia Tuesday. They will host a clinic for teens Saturday at Deliverance Evangelistic Church and Philly-run clinics could start administering to kids Wednesday.
"They’ve kind of lost the past year, so it’s nice for them to be able to get vaccinated like we were," parent Brie Deringer said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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