Pediatrician weighs in on Pfizer vaccine for young teens

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to go into the arms of 12-to-15-year-olds this week. It’s a polarizing topic for parents. Should they vaccinate their children or not?

“By getting more kids vaccinated, I think that’s going to allow us to get back to regular living and to protect our loved ones from getting COVID,” said Dr. Alexandra Cvijanovich, a pediatrician at Presbyterian.

She pointed out one study where 1,100 kids received the Pfizer vaccine and another 1,100 kids got a placebo.

“And in the study group, none of the kids who got the Pfizer vaccine got COVID when exposed to it. And in the other group, 18 kids actually got the virus when exposed to it,” she said. “Even if 18 out of 1,100 doesn’t sound like a lot, if one of those 18 kids is your child, it is important.”

She said the vaccine could bring similar side effects to kids as it did to adults – like arm soreness and mild flu-like symptoms. Dr. Cvijanovich didn’t know the symptoms of the kids who received the placebo and were exposed to the real virus.

“I do know the pediatric population, very often, is mild and sometimes asymptomatic. But again, the kids with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to severe disease,” she explained.

She said even if someone’s child is healthy, parents should think about other children who may not be.

“I think that it’s a way to protect our population as a whole,” she said.