Health experts urge Pa. kids to get Pfizer vaccine once it becomes available

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for kids as young as age 12. It’s already authorized for kids 16 and older, and trials have been going on to see if it’s safe for even younger age groups.

“It’s the typical process for something to get tested and approved in adults and then once we see that it’s safe in adults, we look into testing it on kids,” Dr. Patrick Gavigan, Pediatric Infectious Disease Physicians at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital said.

Health experts say it’s important kids get the shot.

“In order to get to 70 or 80% of our population, we’re going to have to vaccinate kids and this is really the first step in addressing that gap,” Gavigan said.

In order to do that, it’s crucial shots go into the arms of kids quickly.

“We need to pivot quickly to that younger population in order to potentially reach that herd immunity as soon as possible,” Erik Hefti, Executive Director of Pharmaceutical Science at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology said.

However, there may be a few hurdles.

“They don’t have reliable transportation that’s on their own,” Hefti said.

Another challenge is the age of consent to get the vaccine.

“Not all children can say they want a COVID vaccine,” Hefti said. “Parent input is obviously necessary in that case.”

The Biden Administration hasn’t put out a plan yet, but pediatrician offices could be vital.

“They have the expertise, the storage facilities, they can get the consent right there, and they already have the parent and child in the same room,” Hefti said.

That is one solution, but not every child has access to health care.

“That’s going to be a huge hurdle, but I think that’s one that schools, public schools, and public infrastructure is going to need to step in somehow,” Hefti said.

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