UNM pediatrician reassures parents that Pfizer vaccine is safe for children as young as 12

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Parents are being encouraged to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

New Mexico opened up the Pfizer vaccination to children as young as 12 years old Thursday.

Dr. Walter Dehority, associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at UNM, said the vaccine has undergone rigorous studies to make sure it’s safe.

In phase three, he said Pfizer used a sample of 2,200 adolescence. Half were given the vaccine and the other half were given a placebo.

"Whether or not the trial was large enough, yes they do what they call power calculations where they estimate how many people need to be enrolled in the study to prove the vaccine works," Dehority said. "They don’t want to enroll any extra and they don’t want to under enroll so they can’t answer the question. So they do those calculations before they start the trial."

The trial revealed the vaccine to be 100% effective for the age group, which is given the same dosage as adults.

"It was 100% effective in the study. Nothing is 100% effective, so I can guarantee you that when you start to vaccinate millions of children around the country, we are going to start to see some cases of probably mild COVID in some children who have the vaccine," Dehority said. "However, what this means is that it is a very effective vaccine."

Dehority said the side effects are minimal, but included pain at the injection site or a fever.

Parents can sign their children up for the vaccine on the state’s website.