Pfizer vaccine receives emergency use approval by the FDA for ages 12 to 15

My son and I got our Pfizer vaccines and were fully vaccinated as of last week. He’s 16 and I’m so grateful he was old enough to get vaccinated after such a long and stressful year at home. Now so many other parents can feel the relief that comes with more members of your household getting vaccinated. The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine got emergency use approval by the FDA for ages 12 to 15 yesterday! It’s effective immediately, meaning children in this age group can get vaccinated today if they can get an appointment. (It’s unclear how this would work, but the VP of Walgreen’s Pharmacy Operations told Buzzfeed “We are getting everything teed up and ready to go now.”) In trials the vaccine was 100% effective in preventing infections in this age group.

The Food and Drug Administration issued emergency use authorization Monday to the Pfizer- BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children as young as 12 years old, a significant step in expanding vaccination of school-age kids that is likely to play an important role in getting America’s classrooms back to normal for next school year. The Pfizer vaccine, which had previously been approved for ages 16 and up, is the first vaccine to be authorized for younger adolescents after a trial of nearly 2,300 kids 12-to-15 years old.

The trial data, which has not yet been published or peer reviewed, showed a strong immune response in those that received the two-dose regimen, an indication that the vaccine will be effective in warding off severe illness associated with the virus. Moderna is expected to follow with its own vaccine trial results for younger adolescents in the coming weeks. Pfizer has said it also anticipates seeking emergency authorization for children as young as two in September; Moderna says it is also on track to have its vaccine authorized for young children by the end of the year.

[From Slate]

I have to admit I’m crying a little. I know this doesn’t affect my little family, but for Hecate’s family it will make a world of difference as she has a child who wasn’t eligible to get vaccinated until now. This will also make such a difference to teachers and school staff who have been putting themselves at risk. We’re still a ways away from reaching herd immunity, but with children eligible we’re getting there. Moderna is also seeking emergency approval for use in children 12 to 18. Plus children under 12 could be eligible for one of the major vaccines as of this fall. Trials have been underway for younger children since March. We’ve been through so much during this pandemic, but the vaccine distribution in the US and this news gives me so much hope that we’ve really turned a corner.

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24 Responses to “Pfizer vaccine receives emergency use approval by the FDA for ages 12 to 15”

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  1. Snuffles says:

    Yay! Now my nephews can get it! The family will be able to get together for Christmas this year!

  2. Nina says:

    Meanwhile a lot of countries are still struggling to get any vaccine at all

    • 2lazy4username says:

      Yup. And despite our privilege – or maybe becuase of it – we still have so many people who refuse to be vaccinated.

  3. nicegirl says:

    I am absolutely thrilled at this news. Youngest is 14, entering high school in the fall.

  4. Size Does Matter says:

    I’m still holding my breath for my 8yo and 5.5yo.

  5. Breezy says:

    My son is 15, almost 16, but he will get it as soon as Nashville allows. I’m trying to make an appointment but the websites still say he isn’t eligible yet. I’m working on it. He’s been very anxious about covid and isolating so this will be wonderful for him and will give him peace of mind.

  6. pottymouth pup says:

    my SIL was ecstatic when I let her know., as was my 15-year-old nephew who doesn’t turn 16 until Aug.

  7. Becks1 says:

    This is such great news! It’s great for the kids of course, but also for their grandparents, teachers, etc. Every person vaccinated is such a help.

    My boys are 9 and 6 so I’m really hoping that they can get a vaccine this fall. I will feel such a sense of relief at that point.

  8. Daffodil says:

    The FDA did approve the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds yesterday, but the CDC still needs to sign off on the emergency use authorization. That’s scheduled to happen on Wednesday (5/12). It’s unclear if the CDC approval would take effect that same day, but starting Thursday these teens and twelves will be eligible to receive their vaccinations.

    • Brittany says:

      That’s my understanding as well. The CDC still needs to sign off on it.

    • MaryContrary says:

      A few of my friends were already able to schedule their 12 year olds for Thursday night. I was tempted but the place they found is an hour away. I’m just going to assume that once the CDC okays this tomorrow that I’ll be able to just walk in to my local CVS with my son. I may cry-he’s the last one in our family that needs to be vaxxed. I will finally be able to exhale once he’s safe too.

  9. Zantasia says:

    This makes me so hopeful for the late summer/fall for my young kids. I’m not taking that mask off until my youngest kid can.
    I’m still freaked out by the variants, however.

  10. Leah says:

    My daughter’s almost 6 and I’m not comfortable with her getting the vaccine. I don’t know enough about it to make that decision for her. I not an anti-vaxxer by any means, she’s fully vaccinated. There’s no telling how this will effect her in the long term as the vaccine was rolled out very quickly. I’m not saying there’s a wrong or right decision, I’m just putting my stance out there. I know we all love our children and are doing what we know is best for them. Bravo to all the mammas!

    • souperkay says:

      We do know that COVID causes death in children without underlying medical conditions that make them immunosuppressed. We do know that COVID can permanently scar & damage the lungs, sometimes requiring transplants. We do know that COVID can prematurely damage the heart & circulatory system. We do know that COVID can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. We do know that COVID can cause nerve damage, causing pain, loss of limb sensation. We do know that COVID can cause neurological deficits, memory loss, fatigue, brain fog. We do know that a percentage of people with COVID are dying between 6-8 months post diagnosis because their bodies are giving out from the secondary damage of the virus. None of these outcomes are rare.

      We do know that the technology for the vaccine has been under development for decades, it was not invented overnight. We do know that arm pain, slight fevers, fatigue, headache, joint & muscle pain are temporary side effects of the vaccine. We do know that it is possible for there to rarely be issues with anaphylaxis in small numbers of people as well as rare issues with blood clotting. These outcomes are rare.

      Whatever fear you are feeling, the risk is much higher were your child to contract the deadly virus, not the vaccine. The vaccine is holding up extremely well against variants, it is protecting people.

      During the time period before your child is eligible, I encourage you to talk to medical professionals you trust so you can see that the vaccine is not a risk but the virus is:

      • Derps says:

        Thank you for this, Souperkay. Yes, there are things we don’t know. There are other, very concerning things we do know. Not acting in a serious situation bc some unknowns exist is irresponsible when there are other known facts that present serious risk to our children. Acting like everything is equivalent and we shouldn’t act until we know everything is an ignorant and unbalanced way of making decisions.

  11. Aimee says:

    My daughter is 14 and I absolutely want her to get it. As long as she agrees to it and she has!

  12. souperkay says:

    I was able to schedule my 13 year old for her first dose today! She has been adamant that she doesn’t want to do things without being vaccinated first so this will be a huge relief since I have been fully vaccinated.

  13. Sigmund says:

    Okay, not an expert here, but my understanding is that the CDC still needs to sign off on this and they are not putting shots in arms yet.

  14. heygingersnaps says:

    Great news!
    I had the first dose of the Oxford one and had such a bad reaction to it that the GP referred me to go to a&e as I was having chest pains on the fifth-sixth day.
    A few hours after getting the vaccine, I developed a throbbing headache, then fever, body ache and chills for four days, on the fifth day my left leg started to hurt and I could barely walk and later that evening the chest pains started. I finally called the gp in the morning and was advised to go to a&e to get some tests done. Heart trace and chest x-ray results were clear, the blood test results showed something about coagulation but they weren’t too worried about it so they advised me to go back to my gp in a few weeks to have another test done. I don’t know if I can get a different brand of vaccine for my second dose, they are giving Moderna at a big site near me, I really don’t want to have to go through that again.

    • Derps says:

      Just to let you know, the Oxford vaccine works differently than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Because the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have a different target and process for stimulating an immune response, they are not associated with these coagulation/clotting risks. You very likely can get one of those vaccines once some time has passed since getting the Oxford vaccine. If, that is, you even need to get one of them. Having these serious side effects is terrible for you, and I’m sorry it happened, but it doesn’t mean that the vaccine didn’t work. These other effects are *in addition* to the proper immune response that your body had. You are still vaccinated and protected, and that is a good thing that happened at the same time this bad stuff also happened. Try to remember that when you feel anxious or scared. I hope you recover fully and never have such side effects from anything again.

  15. languidsegmentsgreen says:

    great for americans, i guess; the rest of us? not so much.

    @heygingersnaps: the non-mRNA vaccines seem to affect people more with the first dose, and feeling crappy is a GOOD thing; it means your immune system (and the vaccine) are doing what they’re supposed to do.

  16. StrawberryBlonde says:

    I am in Ontario Canada. I am 39 (1982) and getting my first dose of Pfizer or Moderna next Wednesday. I cannot wait! My husband got his first shot of AstraZeneca in April as he is 41. We have a 2 year old. I hope he will be able to be vaccinated within the next year.

    • Derps says:

      Yay for you! We were so excited and relieved to finally get eligible, and then get an appt. Also looking forward to when our kids can be vaccinated.