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CDC recommends use of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine in 12-15-year-olds

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the agency now recommends the use of Pfizer/BioNTech's coronaviru...

Posted: May 12, 2021 4:17 PM
Updated: May 12, 2021 5:45 PM

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the agency now recommends the use of Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine in 12-15-year-olds.

'Today, I adopted CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents,' Walensky said in a statement.

ACIP voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend giving Pfizer/BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine to kids as young as 12.

'CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away,' Walensky said.

The US Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency use authorization for the vaccine in 12-15-year-olds Monday.

President Joe Biden welcomed the decision, noting that 17 million more Americans would now be eligible for vaccination.

'Now, I encourage each of them and their parents to get their vaccination shots right away,' Biden said.

'This is one more step to gaining immunity and bringing the pandemic closer to an end,' said Dr. José Romero, who chairs ACIP and who is also the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health.

'We still need to vaccinate the rest of the world, but we have made significant steps and are on the road.'

CVS said its pharmacies will begin to administer Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15 on Thursday.

Consent from a parent or guardian will be required to get the vaccine in a CVS pharmacy, and an adult must be present with the child to get the vaccine.

Dr. Sara Oliver of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases had briefed the committee on the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

'Adolescents 12-17 years of age are at risk of severe illness from Covid-19,' Oliver said.

'There have been over 1.5 million reported cases and over 13,000 hospitalizations to date among adolescents 12 to 17 years,' she added.

A comparison of hospitalization rates from past annual influenza epidemics shows more children and teens have been hospitalized because of Covid-19 than for flu, Oliver said.

'Overall the hospitalization rate for Covid in this population is higher than the influenza-associated hospitalization rate for the same age group during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic,' she said. The Covid hospitalization rate for 12-17-year-olds has also been significantly higher for Covid than it was for flu in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, she said.

Plus, it's become clear that teens and children are a source of spread of the virus, she said.

'Adults living in a household with a child engaged in full-time in-person school had an increase in odds of reporting Covid-19 like illness, loss of taste/smell, or positive SARS-CoV-2 test within previous 14 days.'

Early in the pandemic, older adults accounted for more cases, Oliver said. Now, as more adults are vaccinated, children and teens are making up a larger share of infections.

'In April, 9% of cases were aged 12-17 years, which actually represents a larger proportion of cases than adults 65 and older,' she told the ACIP meeting.

'However, we note that diagnosed and reported cases are an underestimate,' she added. Adjusted estimates, she said, showed 22 million children ages 5-17 had been infected with coronavirus, accounting for 19% of all infections. The CDC has said the official count of diagnosed coronavirus cases underestimates the true count.

In the 12-17 age group, 127 have died from Covid-19.

Oliver also noted that 3,742 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, have been reported. It's a rare but serious complication of coronavirus infection that affects multiple organs. It affects minorities disproportionately; 63% of reported cases have been among Black and Latino children. It kills 1%-2% of patients.

The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials, Oliver noted. 'The clinical trial for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine demonstrated efficacy against symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed Covid-19. The efficacy was 100%,' she said.

Adverse events were very rare and no serious adverse events were linked to the vaccine. None of the 2,200 12-15-year-olds in the clinical trial suffered a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

It's also feasible to vaccinate younger teens and children, Oliver said.'Increasing access to primary care providers serving adolescents has the benefits of utilizing trusted providers for providing information and education about Covid vaccines, as well as vaccinating against Covid,' Oliver told ACIP.

Sites provided by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency that provides health services to uninsured and otherwise vulnerable groups and that is helping vaccination efforts, are another resource for kids, Oliver said.

'Pharmacies and HRSA sites have a wide footprint across the nation, and can rapidly expand to provide Covid vaccines for adolescent school-based vaccinations, have the benefit of reaching adolescents in their own communities, as well as being trusted sources of information for communities,' Oliver said.

Federally qualified health centers are another potential place to vaccinate children and teens, she said.

While most states will wait for the CDC go-ahead, some states allowed the vaccination of the younger adolescents starting Tuesday -- among them, Georgia and some districts of North Carolina.

The CDC also gave guidance that should make it easier to vaccinate children and teens.

Doctors and other clinicians had been advised to avoid giving coronavirus vaccine within two weeks of any other vaccine. But Dr. Kate Woodworth of the CDC's birth defects division said that advice has now changed.

'Due to the novelty of the Covid-19 vaccines, the previous recommendation was to administer Covid-19 vaccines alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine, to better understand any adverse events,' Woodworth told ACIP.

'Extensive experience with non-Covid-19 vaccines has demonstrated that immunogenicity and adverse event profiles are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously as when they are administered alone,' she added.

Later, the CDC added that it was not yet known whether people might be more likely to have a reaction if multiple vaccines were given together with a Covid vaccine.

'For these reasons, the clinical considerations regarding co-administration are being updated to state that Covid-19 and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of Covid-19 with other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.'

Woodworth noted that the number of childhood vaccinations has fallen off and many US kids need to catch up on their routine vaccines, including vaccinations against influenza, tetanus, meningitis and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The American Academy of Pediatrics also endorsed the practice of giving vaccines together and urged parents to vaccinate their children against Covid-19 as soon as possible.

Pfizer said last week it expects to submit for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 2 to 11 in September. Its vaccine safety and efficacy study in children ages 6 months to 11 years old is ongoing.

The FDA also scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee for June 10 to discuss the potential extension of EUA to children under 12.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 585607

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson851431591
Mobile48584864
Madison37411533
Shelby27192257
Tuscaloosa27145465
Montgomery26119627
Baldwin25207329
Lee17184181
Calhoun15382334
Morgan15147291
Etowah14928370
Marshall13079235
Houston12021293
Elmore10890219
St. Clair10737252
Limestone10699158
Cullman10503205
Lauderdale10240254
DeKalb9498192
Talladega8935188
Walker7775288
Autauga7537114
Jackson7384117
Blount7352139
Colbert6691142
Coffee6342132
Dale5605117
Russell478943
Chilton4763117
Covington4738125
Franklin456681
Tallapoosa4511156
Escambia439283
Chambers3936125
Dallas3742163
Clarke370563
Marion3455107
Pike332079
Lawrence3257100
Winston298373
Bibb289765
Geneva282883
Marengo262267
Barbour250661
Pickens245262
Butler240172
Hale235178
Fayette226765
Henry212845
Monroe201541
Randolph200344
Cherokee198848
Washington184339
Macon169752
Crenshaw167758
Clay165659
Cleburne161145
Lamar150938
Lowndes145355
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh120632
Coosa118129
Perry110328
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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