Push to expand COVID-19 shots

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We’ve seen several recent developments to try and expand COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S.

The CDC is mulling over Wednesday’s FDA advisory panel recommendation to allow Pfizer booster shots for more adult populations. And efforts are moving forward to get more kids vaccinated, too.

It’s a whirlwind week of developments to try and get more COVID-19 shots into arms. Third doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which were authorized in August for patients with weakened immune systems, could soon be on deck for seniors 65 and older and younger adults considered at high risk.

“It’s important for protecting ourselves but it’s also important for protecting our neighbors and our friends and our families and our communities and those around us who might be more vulnerable,” American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Lee Savio Beers said.

Lately, the American Academy of Pediatrics, says children have become increasingly vulnerable to the virus. The AAP cites nearly 226,000 reported COVID-19 cases in kids last week, and nearly a million the past four weeks. Dr. Beers says any family reluctance needs to give way to acceptance that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for children 12 and older.

“The first and most important thing is to be working together with the whole family, to all be talking together and thinking about what everybody’s questions or concerns are. You know, trying to get at the heart of why there may be differences in opinions,” Dr. Beers said.

She cites an example of how a pediatrician colleague got on a telemedicine call on her day off to address a family’s reluctance.

“And they all talked through the questions that they had and each individual one and actually ultimately decided as a family for their teen to get the vaccine,” Dr. Beers said.

Just this week, Pfizer submitted its clinical trial information to the FDA claiming its COVID vaccine is safe and effective to begin administering to children ages five to 11.

“I think we’re all eager for our little ones to have access to the same protection that our older kids do,” Dr. Beers said.

Protecting kids and pursuing herd immunity.

“And really get those immunization rates up because that’s how we’re going to beat this in the end,” Dr. Beers said.

Dr. Beers says she’s hearing optimism that Pfizer’s findings will help the FDA grant emergency use authorization to allow shots for children ages five to 11. She says while that authorization may take until winter, she says it could happen as early as sometime next month.

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