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Q&A on registering 16-year-olds for COVID-19 vaccines

Posted at 8:37 AM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 08:37:51-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Tuesday, anyone 16 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine in New York State. Ahead of the change, we sat down with Dr. John Sellick from Kaleida Health to get answers to some of the questions parents have.

Q: Is this vaccine safe for my teenager?

A: "Yes. Absolutely. It's safe for your teenagers and the evidence - the way it's pointing - it's going to be safe for younger kids as well," said Dr. Sellick. The doctor went on to say that the trials going on right now will likely look at whether or not younger kids should get the same vaccine dose as adults and older kids, or if they should get a modified dose.

Q: What do parents of 16 and 17-year-olds need to know as they sign their kids up for the vaccine?

A: There are a few things parents should keep in mind.

  • Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 and older.
  • Recent research has shown the Pfizer vaccine is "very effective" in the 12-15 year old age group.
  • The doctor says getting school-aged children vaccinated will make things safer for other kids and adults, including teachers and coaches.

Q: Once my 16 or 17-year-old is vaccinated, can I let them spend time with their friends?

A: Dr. Sellick describes this answer as somewhat of a "moving target." Right now the CDC guidance says that fully-vaccinated people can gather with other fully-vaccinated people in small groups without masks. The doctor expects that we will see the guidance continue to change as more people get vaccinated, and it becomes safer for everyone to get back to "normal."

Q: Once my child is vaccinated will he or she still need to wear a mask?

A: Right now Dr. Sellick says the use of masks is still recommended - partially because of the number of variants that have been seen across the country lately. He also says the number of variants we've seen is another strong reason for people to get vaccinated.