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12 to 15 year olds eligible for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 2:16 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Children as young as 12 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

After the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, nearly 17 million 12- to 15-year-olds in the US became eligible.

According to data from the FDA, out of the total 1 thousand and 5 vaccine recipients in this age group, no cases of covid-19 were found. 16 cases occurred among those who received the placebo. Dr. Regan Gallagher of Cary Medical Center echoed those findings.

“When they did the studies with the Pfizer vaccine in kids, they saw a very robust immune response to the vaccine which is a good sign, obviously you want it to work,” Dr. Gallagher said. “Even in the adults we did see some cases of COVID. You know it is 95%. But in the 12–15-year-old group they saw no cases of COVID in the vaccinated group. So, it does appear to be very effective.”

Dr. Gallagher says the vaccine will benefit both children and the community.

“Because they are frequently very lowly symptomatic or asymptomatic, they can very easily be out and about because they aren’t feeling too bad sharing that virus with others that either aren’t vaccinated or can’t be vaccinated for whatever reason,” Dr. Gallagher said. “So, vaccinating them helps protect not just the child, but all of us.”

Health officials say they are working to provide more vaccine for those who want it.

“We’re working with existing sites, providers offices, and schools to offer the Pfizer vaccine widely across the state of Maine,” Dr. Nirav Shah said. “Given that COVID-19 can affect kids and in some cases be serious, and given that we have a safe and remarkably effective vaccine… I urge every family to have the conversation about whether and when to get the Pfizer vaccine. Right now, the vaccines are our best ticket back to normal.”

Dr. Gallagher says clinics are planned for schools like Caribou, Fort Fairfield, and Van Buren. Cary Medical Center will be hosting a clinic for anyone ages 12-17 on May 13, 2021 at the hospital from 2-6. To sign up visit the Cary Medical Center website, or the Pines Health website.

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