KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many medical experts have said herd immunity might be left up to younger groups getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Now with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorizing the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children ages 12 to 15, the United States could get closer to that goal.
The authorization opens vaccination to about 17 million more people, or around 5% of the country’s population.
But, vaccination rates could stay about the same as parents make the decision whether or not to vaccinate their children.
Some parents are allowing their children to make the decision for themselves.
"I was like, you know it's your choice, but if you want to get it, your dad and I think it's a great idea and he was like, ‘I totally want it,’” Jen Christensen said.
Her 12-year-old is on board to get the shot — which could happen soon with the CDC’s approval catapulting efforts nationwide.
Locally, some pharmacies already have begun offering vaccines to the new age group.
But the concern for some parents is how quickly the vaccine was developed.
Four parents, who did not wish to be identified, told 41 Action News they were not planning on getting their children vaccinated for this reason and due to worries over short- and long-term effects.
Dr. Angela Myers, infectious diseases division director at Children’s Mercy Hospital, said all the steps were followed in the development of this vaccine.
"This happened more quickly than any other vaccine that's ever been brought to the market," Myers said. "However, the steps that were used to get to this point of emergency-use authorization are the exact same steps that are always followed when we get authorization to use a vaccine."
Myers advised parents with questions or concerns to speak with their trusted health care provider
"Please, please reach out to your physician, to the people you trust with the medical care of your child," she said. "If you have questions, please look at trusted sources of information like the CDC to get those questions answered."
Clinical trials still are underway in children younger than 12 to determine correct dosages for that age group.