BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Some local doctors offering advice to parents worried about getting their 12 to 15 year old child vaccinated.
The FDA approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for the young teens. The CDC is expected to allow vaccines for that age group as early as this week.
“We’ve been waiting for this really,” declared Dr. Steven Lana, pediatrician, Delaware Pediatrics in Buffalo.
Dr. Lana says getting this age group vaccinated will go a long way in helping parents get back to normal routines for school and home life in our community and also protect family members.
“Game changer perhaps. — It's fantastic,” replied Dr. Lana. “We want to keep these children healthy and the best way to keep them healthy is to give them the protection of a very effective and safe vaccine."
Starting next week, Dr. Lana says the Erie County Health Department will provide a batch of the Pfizer vaccine to administer to his patients 12-years and up.
“Most of our parents and most of our patients are eager to be vaccinated because they recognize the limitation of not being vaccinated not to mention the risk of not being vaccinated,” Dr. Lana explained.
The FDA now says after extensive testing, it is safe to offer protection to young teens.
“All told, I think we have very good safety signals and efficacy signals,” Dr. John Sellick, epidemiologist, Kalelida Health.
Dr. Sellick says the studies are very strong and prove to be safe for children 12 to 15 years old.
“Also showing safety and also showing that they developed good antibody levels and that they did not develop illness,” remarked Dr. Sellick.
Dr. Lana says it is one of the safest vaccines.
“Hundreds and hundreds of millions of doses have been given,” Dr. Lana said.
A mother of three children in Buffalo Public Schools says she and her husband have been discussing getting their children vaccinated.
Aimiamia McCray has two sons, 12 and four and an 11 year old daughter.
“Are you going to get your children that are of age right now vaccinated?”, asked Buckley.
“For my two sons — I am thinking about the possibility of them getting the vaccine,” responded McCray.
McCray says when her daughter becomes eligible, she will consult her allergist because her daughter has a peanut allergy and fears she might react to the vaccine.
“It’s a very smart and intriguing virus, so I would definitely recommend that the school systems make it mandatory for the children that are appropriate to get it,” McCray said. “For children that are healthy enough and show it will be okay with the vaccination, I think making it mandatory makes sense.”
“Children are much more likely to get a Covid infection right now than they are to get the measles — yet we we give measles vaccines and in fact we make it mandatory,” Dr. Lana noted.
But McCray said she is hearing vaccine hesitancy.
“No one knows what they’re really going to do for you or how you are going to respond to it when you do start the actual vaccination,” McCray described.
McCray said in convicing parents to get their child vaccinated, they should do their research to understand the virus.
“Understand the impact if you don’t get vaccinated and what that can do not just to you and your family, but to our community,” explained McCray.
“We want to get back to something that resembles normalcy and this is how we will do it,” replied Dr. Sellick.
Some say the believe the vaccine trials were too quick, but Dr. Sellick disagrees.
He said the original trials, with about 150,000 people, occurred nearly one year ago.
“Those are very big studies and we’re close to a year of when those first trials were started, so we have very good track record now,” explained Dr. Sellick.
Dr. Sellick also pointed out that most side effects happen within in a couple of months and we are well beyond that time frame.
“The safety is really quite remarkable,” stated Dr. Sellick.
Studies are continuing for the Pfizer vaccine for those as young as six months to as old as 11 years of age, but results of safety and effectiveness is not expected until late fall.