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Mayo Clinic pediatrician addresses recent expansion of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

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ROCEHSTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in people ages 12 to 15 years, health care providers are now encouraging parents to get their kids that shot when it's available.

Mayo Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson says this group of 12 to 15 year olds will receive the same dose amounts and same dose schedule as those currently eligible for the vaccine.

"This is common with vaccines that the dose is the same across the ages," said Jacobson. "Vaccines work locally and so it's not as though the vaccine is going throughout the entire body to make the immune response, it's making it in the muscle where it was injected."

Health officials are waiting for final guidance before these young teens can roll up their sleeves.

But Mayo Clinic and other health care facilities are ready to get this next group of eligible Americans vaccinated.

"Everyone needs to get this vaccine to put an end to this pandemic," Jacobson said.

Right now, health experts recommend a minimum waiting period of 14 days, before and after getting your COVID-19 vaccines in which no other vaccines are administered.

"The FDA, along with the advisory committee on immunization practices have asked that we separate the COVID-19 vaccines from the other preventative vaccines," Jacobson said. "This was done during the trials to separate out which vaccine was causing what reaction."

Health organizations like the FDA cannot approve administering vaccines close together without evidence.

"But if you look at how the vaccines works, how these COVID-19 vaccines work, how the other vaccines work, there's no real reason to fear it," Jacobson said.

Jacobson warns it's important to not let your child or yourself fall behind on immunizations and recommends working with your healthcare provider to get caught up, in addition to getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's hard getting teenagers into the doctors office for medical care," Jacobson said. "It's hard to interrupt their schedule. It's hard to interrupt your schedule and make it all work, but this is a matter of life and death. We've got to put an end to this pandemic."

Dr. Jacobson hopes by mid-summer Moderna will have its vaccine test data submitted to the FDA for review so it too can be approved for the 12 to 15 year old range.

He also says both Pfizer and Moderna have trials underway for children 6 months to 11 years old.

Sarah Gannon

Sarah Gannon

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