US Health Advisers Endorse Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids 12 And Older

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel, has voted 14-0, with one recusal, to immunize children 12 to 15 years old with the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine under emergency use authorization.

As pediatric infectious diseases physician Dr. Marian Michaels puts it, she and her colleagues are jubilant.

“The data that are there are robust. They are just fabulous,” she says.

At the emergency meeting, the committee reviewed the safety data, looked at how well the vaccine worked and considered the process of immunizing adolescents, including giving this vaccine along with others.

“The safety evaluation did not raise any safety concerns for use of the vaccine in individuals between 12 through 15 years of age,” says the FDA’s Dr. Doran Fink.

“There were no cases of COVID-19 in individuals vaccinated, and in the placebo group there were 16 individuals who developed COVID-19. That calculates to a vaccine efficacy of 100%,” says Pfizer’s Dr.John Perez.

According to Pfizer, the most common side effects included fever, chills, fatigue and headache, especially after the second dose. Also, lymph nodes under the arm can swell.

The committee determined the benefits outweighed the risks. Presenters pointed out there have been 15 million cases of COVID-19 in adolescents and 13,000 hospitalizations.

“Some kids do get very sick,” says AHN Pediatric Alliance pediatrician, Dr. Joe Aracri. “Children’s lives are completely disrupted when there’s a COVID outbreak in the community.”

During the public comments, speakers brought up concerns about allergic reactions, mandates and the long-term outlook.

“Each person is a little different in terms of what is their particular hesitancy, and we need to listen to that,” says Dr. Michaels.

With CDC acceptance of its committee recommendation, the states may give the go-ahead to local vaccine providers to immunize adolescents. Guidance on that could come as soon as tomorrow.