Pfizer asks FDA to expand use of COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pfizer announced Friday that it submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as age 12.

Many believe this is the next step towards possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.

The FDA announcement comes one week after the company said its shot is safe and strongly protective in younger teens.

Most COVID-19 vaccines rolled out worldwide are for adults who are at higher risk from the coronavirus.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older, but vaccinating children of all ages will be critical to stopping the pandemic, officials suggest.

And helping schools, at least the upper grades, start to look a little more normal after months of disruption.

Action News met with parents and students at the Cheltenham verse Pennwood high school football game. One of those parents was a mother of two, Regina Barnes, who believes this is a good idea.

"Keep them safe, keep them healthy," said Barnes. "They need some normalcy in their lives."

Barnes' son Reggie, 14, is a ninth-grader at Cheltenham High School and says he'd gladly take it.

"It feels a bit unsafe to go back in the school unvaccinated. A lot of people, I assume, would not be taken as seriously," said Reggie Barnes.

Dr. Jonathan Miller, Chief of Primary Care at Nemours duPont Hospital for Children, said, "This is going to allow us to open up schools quicker. It will allow us to get kids back to sports quicker, and eventually, it will allow us to send them back to school without masks."

He says data shows this age group of children need to be vaccinated.

"It is apparent that some of the spread throughout our community is happening through teenagers," Miller added. "I would have no qualms at all about vaccinating my kids. I cannot wait."

The next step is a review of Pfizer's data by the FDA. That could take several weeks.
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