Mass vaccination programs have become a prominent mechanism set in place to combat the Coronavirus. As more people take the vaccine, government officials have seen fit to lower the age restrictions gradually so that every person has a semblance of protection from the virus. Children have now fallen into the category of eligibility for the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Recommended Vaccine For 12 To 15-Year-Olds
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested that children between the ages of 12 to 15 years old should take the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, explained the reason for this recommendation in a statement.
Dr. Walensky said, “Today, I adopted CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents.”
On Wednesday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) cast a vote that was unanimous in its decision. The committee was firm in its recommendation that children from ages 12 and older should be vaccinated by the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Walensky, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention director, stated, “CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away.”
The move to begin vaccinations on children was backed by other leading health institutions and organizations. The Food and Drug Administration has made use of its emergency authorization to enable children from 12 to 15 years to take the vaccine on Monday.
President Joe Biden was all in favor of this move, stating that now the eligibility dynamic for the vaccine had changed, now allowing over 17 million Americans to be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. President Biden emphasized the importance of this step by stating, “Now, I encourage each of them and their parents to get their vaccination shots right away.”
Various officials have expressed their opinion on this step positively. The Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health and the head of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), Dr. José Romero, stated, “This is one more step to gaining immunity and bringing the pandemic closer to an end. We still need to vaccinate the rest of the world, but we have made significant steps and are on the road.”
Dr. Sarah Oliver, who works with the CDC’s Nation Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was responsible for briefing the committed with pros and cons of the vaccine and its use. Dr. Oliver stated, “Adolescents 12-17 years of age are at risk of severe illness from Covid-19. There have been over 1.5 million reported cases and over 13,000 hospitalizations to date among adolescents 12 to 17 years.”
While studying the comparisons in hospitalization rates between the effect of the Coronavirus and previous animal-related virus epidemics, experts have noticed a higher rate of hospitalizations in teenagers and children due to the Coronavirus as compared to influenza. Dr. Oliver explained, “Overall, the hospitalization rate for Covid in this population is higher than the influenza-associated hospitalization rate for the same age group during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.”
Dr. Oliver believes that one of the prominent reasons for the rapid and continuous spread of the Covid-19 virus is the susceptibility of teenagers and children. She explained her view by stating, “Adults living in a household with a child engaged in full-time in-person school had an increase in odds of reporting Covid-19 like illness, loss of taste/smell, or positive SARS-CoV-2 test within previous 14 days.”
CVS Pharmacy is set to begin with the administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children from Thursday. All vaccines that are administered to children will be done so in the presence of a parent or guardian. Moreover, vaccines can be administered to children once consent from the parent or guardian has been granted.