Breaking News
More () »

St. Louis Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | KSDK.com

What parents need to know about FDA COVID-19 vaccine authorization for ages 12 to 15

"As much as we can get kids get vaccinated before school year, the more they can go back to focusing on learning," Dr. Marya Strand said

ST. LOUIS — In less than a week, 12- to 15-year-olds could be able to get Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

It could impact millions of students before the beginning of the next school year.

Lizzy Buckhold, 14, took a shot at getting inoculated early on.

Signing up for the Pfizer children trial back in January at one of the biggest trials at Clinical Research Professionals in Chesterfield.

RELATED: 'I asked my mom' | St. Louis teen shares experience of COVID-19 vaccine trial

Because of those trials, the FDA could authorize the Pfizer vaccine ages 12 to 15 as of next week.

In late March, Pfizer released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 volunteers. It showed there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents. As for the children who got the placebo, 18 got sick.

Pfizer submitted its data to the FDA about three to four weeks ago. 

5 On Your Side spoke to Dr. Jason Newland, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 

We asked, what are some of the most important things parents should know?

He says:

  1. These vaccines are safe
  2. If the FDA says it’s safe, it’s safe 
  3. They are very effective, almost 100%

Some may think, children are low risk. That's true, but that's not the case for everyone.

"However, there are 400 children that died from COVID-19," Dr. Newland said. 

RELATED: Missouri mother makes plea after her 13-year-old son dies from COVID-19

Dr. Marya Strand, Chief Medical Officer at Cardinal Glennon said in the first nine months of the pandemic, about 6 to 8% positive COVID-19 tests were in the children's age group.

That's bumped up.

"We are now in the 20% of the positive tests pediatric age group," she said.

Dr. Jason Newland with St. Louis Children's Hospital also gives the reminder, it's not just about protecting your child, but others.

"A child mildly infected without vaccine can transmit the virus. The more people vaccinated, the safer our community," he says.

Dr. Strand says this is a game-changer for schools.

"As much as we can get kids get vaccinated before school year, the more they can go back to focusing on learning," she adds.

Lizzy may have been one of the first to volunteer for the shot.

So others could be next in line, which would include the teens for Dr. Newland and Dr. Strand.

Dr. Newland says he will be going with his 15-year-old to get the shot, after she's been asking to get it.

Dr. Strand poses the question to all her children ranging from 14 to 21. All said yes.

"My 14-year-old is ready to go," she tells 5 On Your Side. 

Pfizer is enrolling 5 to 11-year-olds right now for its latest trial.

In the summer, it'll be children under the age of 5. 

The director of the Clinical Research Professional says:

"The younger 5-11-year-old enrollment is very limited at each site for this trial and we will only be able to enroll a very small group of kiddos in the study. This is a huge disappointment as we have over 300 on a waiting list. We are not participating in the 6mo to under 5-year-old enrollment."

Dr. Newland said it could be late fall or winter, for an FDA authorization for the 5 and older age group.

Adding, Pfizer will be the first to approve all children ages group.