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“We are ready,” said Biden shortly after the vote in the White House. “This new population will find the vaccine to roll out quickly and efficiently.”
The president said 15,000 pharmacies across the country will be ready to start delivering the vaccine to young teenagers starting Thursday, and school-based clinics and family health centers will also be giving doses. “We will also be bringing these vaccines to pediatricians and family doctors so parents and children can talk to their doctors who they trust to get the vaccination and they can do so in this office,” added Biden.
Allowing 12-15 year olds to get vaccinations will reduce Covid-19 transmission in families and communities and help children go to camp and back to school, said Hank Bernstein, a pediatrician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York and a member of the Advisory Board. “The benefits far outweigh the risk,” he said.
Teenagers are less likely to develop serious Covid-19 than older adults. However, vaccinating this age group is a key factor in ending the pandemic, Biden’s top medical advisor Anthony Fauci told POLITICO last week.
“We really need to suppress the outbreak, and you are doing this by essentially breaking the chain of transmission. adolescent children are part of the chain of transmission, ”said the longtime director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
Playing catch-up: A CDC official said during the meeting that Covid-19 vaccines can now be given at the same time as other vaccinations, a change that could help teenagers catch up on any vaccinations they missed during the pandemic. Previously, the government had recommended the public not to receive any other vaccines for two weeks before or after a Covid-19 shot.
This change reflects key safety data collected for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines in adults, as well as previous experience with multiple vaccines being administered at the same time. Clinicians and scientists who introduced themselves to the CDC panel said that people who receive multiple vaccines at the same time produce equal amounts of protective antibodies without increasing the risk of side effects.
Big logistical questions arise: The introduction of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in the 12-15 age group could make the logistics of distributing it to adults more difficult. The shot would be the only one available to younger teens, which would mean jurisdictions would have to prioritize its use for that age group to ensure availability. The shot also requires freezers for long-term storage, which could be a barrier to vaccine distributors in low-income or rural areas.
Background: A late-stage clinical study in 2,300 children ages 12-15 found that the vaccine was 100 percent effective at preventing Covid-19 in this age group – and the younger teens actually developed higher levels of antibodies after vaccination than those ages 16-15 25 years old, no cases of Covid-19 were reported in the participants who received the vaccine, and 34 cases were reported in the placebo group.
Pfizer and other manufacturers are also testing their vaccines in much younger children – some infants – but don’t expect these results until early fall. The schedule could complicate plans to fully reopen the school.
The FDA announced Monday that its vaccine advisory board will meet on June 10 to discuss coronavirus vaccination in children, especially children under the age of 11. The FDA does not have to take into account the discussions and votes of its committees in making approval and licensing decisions, but it generally does.
Pfizer and BioNTech became the first coronavirus vaccine manufacturers to file for full FDA approval for their vaccine this month. Currently, all emergency shots are approved, a bar that is below the approval.