Teenagers and the COVID-19 Vaccine: Should They Take It?

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By Currents News Staff

The FDA has cleared Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for kids between the ages of 12 and 15 for emergency use, making it the first available for anyone under 16. The question now is: Will parents sign their kids up?

While many adults have rolled their own sleeves up for the shot, they’re hesitant to do the same for their children. But doctors say they shouldn’t be.

“Ready? 1,2,3. Stick.”

More and more kids are now able to get the COVID-19 vaccine and some, like 14-year-old Jacob Laney, are already lining up.

“Well, I’m going to be able to, um, go more places, uh, without being scared of getting COVID-19,” Jacob said, “and uh, I’ll be able to just feel safer anywhere.”

But some parents aren’t convinced the vaccine is safe for their kids.

“I want to learn a little more about it before that happens,” said parent Brian Clark, “just to see if there are any adverse effects.”

So far, doctors say they’ve only seen slight reactions after Pfizer’s trials of about 2,000 kids between the ages of 12 to 15.  And Dr. Robert Tiballi of the Catholic Medical Association says it is safe for children.

“Bottom line is, I think the children should be vaccinated, yes,” Dr. Tiballi said.

Researchers actually found that after getting the second dose, 12 to 15-year-olds had even higher levels of antibodies than 16 to 25-year-olds who had also gotten the shots, making them far less likely to get sick.

“18 cases of COVID in the 1,500 adolescents that had placebo and zero in the group that got vaccine,” said Dr. Robert Frenck, director at Gamble Center for Clinical Research.

Some might argue COVID in children doesn’t tend to be that severe. In fact, according to the CDC, children under 18 make up about 12 percent of all cases, but also represent just a tenth of a percent of all COVID-19 deaths.

So why get the shot? Here’s one reason from Dr. Tiballi.

“We worry very significantly that there could be a mutation in the virus where it could actually seriously affect children and that can happen any time,” he said. 

So the focus now is going even younger. Trials have begun in children like seven-year-old Naomi who has a message for those unsure about getting vaccinated.

“That would be a great way to keep the world safe,” Naomi said.

Dr. Tiballi says while the vaccine for kids is the same material used for adults, it’s a different dose. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says public school students will not have to be vaccinated to return to class in the fall.