Medical experts, schools react to FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 to 15

Coronavirus

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On Monday, The Food and Drug Administration announced its approval for emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on ages 12- to 15-year-old. The news comes as millions of Americans have already received their vaccine.

“We have children in the hospital with COVID. We have children in the intensive care unit because of COVID. They are not immune if the times they get sick are less than the times adults get sick,” said Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Mezoff says there are a number of reasons to vaccinate children, including protection from “long COVID.”

“Fifteen percent of children this age get what’s referred to as “long COVID.” Long COVID is when you have symptoms for months, hopefully not more than months, after you’ve gotten COVID even with a mild infection. Symptoms can include headaches, shortness of breathe, something called brain fog where you really can’t concentrate very well,” said Mezoff.

When it comes to the classroom, Centerville School District Superintendent Dr. Tom Henderson hopes vaccinating more students opens windows for school activities and sports that might have been put on pause because of the pandemic.

“With more students getting the vaccine, I think we’ll hopefully loosen up some of those guidelines eventually. Maybe allow more parents and spectators to attend those events. Also, just to keep everybody healthy,” said Henderson.

Studies have also shown that while many younger people might not show symptoms of COVID-19, they can still have it. Mezoff says vaccinating our youth helps by protecting parents, grandparents, and the people around us.

“Them getting vaccinated helps protect the people they love from getting sick, which is really important in my mind,” said Mezoff.

If families are worried about reactions to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Mezoff says those are rare.

“We’ve personally in our institution participated in vaccination programs for the community at large for kids in schools, and it’s rare for us to see somebody have a severe reaction,” said Mezoff.

If also approved by the CDC and given the ‘ok’ from Governor DeWine, Mezoff says Dayton Children’s Hospital is ready to roll out vaccinations to ages 12 and up by Thursday, May 13th.

“Anything we can do to limit those kids of stresses is just gonna help our kids,” said Mezoff.

Henderson says for Centerville schools the plan is to offer vaccine clinics for ages 12-15 next week at one of their school locations.

“From what I’ve seen in the school system it’s definitely been a plus, and it’s gonna help us get back in person,” said Henderson.

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