MONROE — U.S. regulators on Monday expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12, offering a way to protect the nation’s adolescents before they head back to school in the fall and paving the way for them to return to more normal activities.
Shots could begin as soon as a federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. An announcement is expected Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration declared that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15. The study found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among kids given dummy shots. More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.
The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose.
Monroe School District sent out an email to parents of middle and high school students Monday with a contingency plan for a second student vaccination clinic. School nurse Samantha Kubly said the school is planning to hold its second student vaccination May 25 at 10 a.m. for students 12-15 that wish to be vaccinated. Assisting with the clinic would be Monroe Hometown Pharmacy West.
Other students eligible that skipped the 16-, 17- and 18-year-old clinic on May 4 would also be welcome to be vaccinated. All attendees on May 25 would need to return on or after June 16 for a second booster shot.
Parents interested in having their child vaccinated by the school were asked to fill out the survey in the email and sign and return a parental consent form to the school office.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.