FDA prepares to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 for 12-to-15-year-olds, school leaders react

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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WINFIELD, Ala. (WBRC) - Pfizer wants children to have access to its COVID-19 vaccine. Pharmaceutical giant has already applied for Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine in children aged 12 to 15, and plans to submit a request for children between the ages of two and eleven in September.

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize the drug maker’s shot for 12-to-15-year-olds by early next week and some local school districts are thinking ahead about how this might impact them this fall.

Chris Cook, superintendent of Winfield City Schools said he’s excited by the possibility that children might soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot, but he said if Pfizer gets that Emergency Use Authorization, it won’t necessarily change anything in his district.

“It would give our parents another option for their children, of course. It excites me that our students would have the option of getting the vaccine,” Cook said.

Cooks said all but three students in his school district have returned for face-to-face instruction and said schools are still trying to implement some safety precautions.

“We’re still trying to do social distancing as much as possible. We have been without masks since the governor’s mask mandate ended. We ended our mask mandate on that Monday following,” Cook said.

Cook said some students still wear mask, but most don’t, and teachers can decide if they want to wear a facial covering.

And while Pfizer hopes to get its shot into kids’ arms soon, Cook said it won’t really change how Winfield Schools will operate this fall.

“We’re focusing on summer school right now and getting children back for the reading camps and the math camps to try to pick up the learning loss…gap that they’ve had, but I don’t believe it would change our school system a whole lot. As of next year, we’ve got a calendar set and we’re going to come back in mid-August, and hopefully, everything will be more back to normal than it has been in a long time,” Cook said.

Right now, Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for use in people 16 and older.

A clinical trial back in March, involving more than 22,000 12-to-15-year-olds showed the vaccine’s efficacy to be 100%.

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