FDA Expected to Approve Pfizer Vaccine for 12-15 Year Olds

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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8 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    I was talking this over with my girlfriend last night. Her daughter just turned 14. She (my girlfriend) got vaccinated in January and struggled with the experience. She had some hesitancy about getting the shot and would have preferred more of a “wait-and-see” approach. But she was pressured by her employer (a private school) and ended up among the first of the general public fully vaccinated. I had no hesitations and got my doses shortly after her, owing to a separate scheduling conflict; otherwise, I’d have gone the same day as her.

    She continues to have some hesitancy about getting it for her daughter. One thought she had was that she is past the point of having kids while her daughter will one day… could this vaccine possibly impact that*? And while I haven’t seen ANYTHING related to the vaccine and reproductive health, we’re not yet at the point where someone has gotten vaccinated and then had a child… such is the newness of all this. So we can’t exactly point to all the people who have had pregnancies completely unaffected by getting vaccinated.

    She asked if I’d get my sons (ages 8 and 6) vaccinated. My feeling is that, if the testing/study for that age group is as thorough as it was for the adult age groups, I’d have no reluctance.

    We then talked about who would be administering the shots. She’d prefer to goto her daughter’s pede… the relationship they have would offer some peace of mind. By and large, I think we need to make getting the shot the easiest thing people do and imagine we’ll see shifts in where you can get it, perhaps in your own doctor’s office. I could see that being a huge factor for parents.

    Lastly, we discussed how this vaccine feels — and maybe is — different than the regular vaccine schedule most of us follow for our children without much thought. While those shots have an eye on herd immunity, they are primarily intended to protect the recipient from really awful diseases. The Covid vaccine seems differently because we’d be giving it to kids as much — if not more — to protect those around them than to protect them directly. I think that matters in a few interesting ways.

    Current vaccine requirements are basically about saying to parents, “We think this thing is so good for your child, we’ll force you to do it on their behalf.”
    A Covid vaccine requirement may be more like, “We don’t want the teachers or other adults around your child to get sick and this could go a long way towards further reducing their risk.”
    That’s… different. More justifiable? Less? Hard to say.

    Assuming the vaccine gets whatever approval isn’t Emergency Use, I anticipate schools moving towards requiring it just as they do so many others. Hell, it was just a couple years ago NYC (maybe New York state?) moved to requiring flu shots for kids.

    Some of the devil details will depend on how easy it is to get an exemption to such requirements, which varies pretty wildly state-to-state, and whether Covid is treated differently than others.

    This is a hugely positive step but not without a whole bunch of tripping points along the way.

    *She had difficulties getting pregnant and had to use IVF and as a result only has the one daughter when she would have liked to have more, so this is an area of particular importance and concern for her.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

      The reproductive health thing must be used by the anti-vax forces because I’ve heard that a fair amount. A quick google search says there’s nothing to that. My expectation is the argument is an effort to raise the goal posts for acceptable evidence so high that they can’t be passed.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

        That may be so. I don’t think that’s the case w/r/t her initial fears; due to her own experiences, her daughter’s reproductive health is a pretty constant concern for her.

        That said, her Googling the topic could certainly leave her vulnerable to bullspit anti-vax nonsense that preys on those very fears.

        From what I’ve read, it seems about age 12 is the dividing line between “child” and “adult” as far as Covid is concerned. If puberty is somehow a factor in how the body responds, that all sort of fits. And thus it makes sense that the 12-16 trial group showed the same response as the next age cohort up.

        Though now we’ve created this kind of weird group of 2-12 year olds, who must be masked, can’t get vaccinated, seem least impacted by the virus, yet remain among the most restricted. Go figure.Report

  2. Slade the Leveller says:

    When my kids were little, their pediatrician pushed the chickenpox vaccine pretty hard. I always turned him down, with the knowledge that it wouldn’t kill them to get it. Sure enough, they caught it somewhere, though by that time (early 2000s) it was becoming increasingly rare due to the vaccine becoming popular. As it turned out, they both survived the experience, and as far as I know, didn’t pass it on to anyone.

    I don’t have to face the choice about the COVID vaccine because my kids are now both fully vaccinated adults. But I like to think I’d realize my kids could be carriers even if getting it would have very little chance of affecting them, and there’s a very real chance they could pass it on to someone very vulnerable. It would be tough to live with that uncertainty.

    When my doctor says to me, “This stuff’ll kill ya”, I tend to listen.Report