COVID vaccine will be available to 12-15-year-olds soon, FDA poised to authorize Pfizer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Lauren Gallagher and her parents have been waiting anxiously to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The 15-year-old has Type 1 diabetes, which doctors means she is 3 to 4 times more likely to suffer serious symptoms if she gets the virus.

"If they told me it was available tomorrow, we'd be there," said Krista Gallagher, mother.

Approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds is expected this week, big news for those with compromised immune systems.

"It puts my heart at ease to know these kids are gonna be protected and give them their lives back," said Mimi Crabtree, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Doctors say vaccinating younger people in general will go a long way toward reaching the goal of herd immunity, which will happen when 60-80% population is vaccinated or has contracted virus. Twenty two percent of the population is made up of children and adolescents.

Lurie Children's hospital is participating in a trial of the Moderna vaccine in those under 12.

"Typically the benefits of vaccines in children are similar to adults with some rare exceptions," said Dr. Larry Kociolek, Director of infectious disease control for Lurie Children's Hospital.

Rauri O'Hara's father is looking forward to the freedom his 13-year-old diabetic daughter will have once she is able to get the shot.

"Trying to keep her as safe as possible while trying to allow a 13-year-old to be a 13-year-old is a challenging balancing act," said Hugh O'Hara.

Pfizer says trials of the vaccine were 100% effective in 12-15-year-olds, and children had the same side effects as adults.
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