KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local doctors and hospitals are getting ready to vaccinate kids ages 12 to 15. The FDA on Monday gave emergency use authorization for the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in that age range.
Doctors are excited to begin administering doses to a younger age group.
"We are happy for it to happen this quickly and excited for our patients to be able to have access to the vaccine. We were all just a little surprised, but we have been prepping for weeks in anticipation. So, we are ready as soon as those authorizations come in," said Dr. Ryan McDonough, Children's Mercy Hospital's vaccine clinic lead.
Right now, kids still can't be vaccinated. On Wednesday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (a CDC advisory panel) will review and vote on the authorization.
"It will likely be that they recommend use of the vaccine in this age group, 12-15, and then it will go to each state for authorization use in the state and then we will starting giving out vaccines as young as 12," said Dr. Angela Myers, director of Children's Mercy Hospital infectious diseases division.
Myers said they have heard from officials in Kansas and Missouri. They were told that the states plan give the "OK" on the vaccine within 24 hours of the ACIP recommendation.
Jen Christensen, a local teacher, is vaccinated. Her kids aren't, which she said makes her nervous.
"We're masked here at school and even though I'm vaccinated. I just — you still don't know how this is going to transmit or what's going to happen, and that is, it's kind of my fear — that something would come home with me," Christensen said.
Her son, Will, recently turned 12 and said he wants to get the vaccine.
"I had told him I think when I first heard that it was coming up as a possibility, and I was like you know it's it's your choice, but you know if you want to get it your dad and I think that's a great idea. He said 'Oh, I totally want it,' so he didn't even bat an eye at it," Christensen said.
She said while some parents might be on the fence about the vaccine, she is putting her faith in science.
"I just feel like this is the best way to keep my kids safe, as safe as I can have them be. I think kind of a parent's worst fear is doing something that doesn't keep their child safe, and so this is our way of feeling that we are doing the best we can to keep them safe," Christensen said.
The hospital is hoping to start giving the Pfizer vaccine as soon as the end of this week.
Kids from Missouri and Kansas will be able to come to the Children's Mercy clinic to get the vaccine. It will be appointment only.
Watch the hospital's website and social media channels for clinic announcements in the coming days.