“The reason why it’s important to get vaccinated is not only to protect you but to protect everyone and your family,” said 12-year-old Christopher Hernandez.
A new chapter in the nations vaccine rollout begins Thursday after an advisory panel for the CDC voted to endorse the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15.
“We are super excited to be able to offer the vaccine to teens now. It’s one more step to ending this pandemic,” said Dr. Lisa Gwynn, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Gwynn signed off on the FDA’s decision to amend the emergency use authorization for that age group.
“It’s important for kids to get vaccinate because number one, they can get sick from this virus. It doesn’t affect kids as much as adults but there have been kids that have gotten very sick, that have had complications, and some have even died. So we want first and foremost to protect the kids but also we want to protect their family members,” she said.
While some parents and their kids are excited about the opportunity, others say they will wait for more information before proceeding.
Tamara Rodriguez is a mother of two girls.
“It’s just so new so I think that’s where the apprehension comes from,” said Tamara Rodriguez, mother of two.
She said her biggest concern is the effect it may have on her girls.
“I'm not sure how it will effect the reproductive system so in 5-10 years, will it have an affect? So I’m concerned about that,” she said.
In a clinical trial, about 2,200 children between ages 12 and 15 took either the vaccine or a placebo. Eighteen of those who took the placebo got coronavirus, but none of the children who got the vaccine did.
Gwynn recommended that parents with questions consult with their pediatrician.
“We all have confidence that this vaccine is completely safe for kids. Parents that are not on the fence in terms of having their child receive the vaccine, I certainly recommend that they check in with their pediatrician to have that dialogue and reassurance,” said Gwynn.
There are many sites in South Florida offering the vaccine and opening up appointments to the younger age group including some public schools, county-run sites, and Walgreens and CVS locations.
“Don’t forget to get vaccinated,” said Hernandez.
All individuals under the age of 18 receiving a vaccine must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine consent form. Click here for the form.