NEW ORLEANS — Emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-29 vaccine was expanded today to include pre-teens and teens 12- to 15-years-old. The CDC still needs to give its opinion on Wednesday before children can get a vaccine.
And since we are now learning that vaccines can interrupt virus' spread, adolescents will be a key part of community protection.
The question is now, with the vaccine showing 100% efficacy in teens, will you want your children to get one?
It's not surprising that it's mostly people 60-and-older getting a COVID vaccine. It was offered to them first and they are more likely to have serious or deadly complications from the illness. But even with the COVID vaccine available to anyone 16-and-older, the younger you are, the less likely you are to go get a vaccine.
In Louisiana,18- to 29-year-olds are less than 10% of those getting vaccinated, so with the age for the Pfizer vaccine now lowered to 12, will there be a demand?
We asked some parents in the carpool line at Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies in Jefferson Parish what they are planning to do.
“It’s an important one, one, for his health, and two, it’d also help curb the spread of this thing,” said Derek, a parent of a 12-year-old.
“I’m kind of undecided. I do have a younger child with asthma, so of course I’m leaving this up to the pediatrician,” said a mother, Priscilla.
“Yes, absolutely, because it’s safe for them and they go hassle-free to school. They don’t need to stress themselves about getting COVID,” one mother said.
One pediatrician tells us parents who got the vaccine plan on getting their children vaccinated. Parents who didn't get a vaccine, aren't in a rush for their children. And the younger the parents are, it's less likely they got one themselves.
Orleans Parish Public Schools worked with DePaul Healthcare to get 16- and 17-year-old students vaccinated at school, but there is no plan yet to do the same for the 12-and-older adolescents. Jefferson Parish Schools also had vaccine drives, but it's unlikely they would host more, since the second dose of the vaccine would be due after school is already out for the year.
So, here's what you can do. Both Ochsner and LCMC hospital sites, including the New Orleans Convention Center, will continue giving vaccines to anyone eligible. Keep in mind that minors need parental consent, and in many cases a parent or legal guardian may have to be there with a child or younger teen.
The Louisiana Department of Health says it will support whatever decision is made by the FDA for the use of the Pfizer vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds.
They could not tell us at this time if there will be any programs to encourage young people to get a vaccine.