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Lexington doctors say vaccinations for younger teens could begin as soon as this weekend

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 11:28 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The use of the Pfizer vaccine has been expanded to include children as young as 12-years old.

A committee is planning on meeting Wednesday to give recommendations after the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 to 15 years old.

If all goes well with that meeting, officials at Lexington Pediatric and Adolescent Associates say they could be giving out the shots to kids as soon as this coming Saturday.

Nationwide, kids could start getting their shots on Thursday.

Experts say this brings added protection to kids before they head back to school in the fall.

Younger teens will get the same dosage as adults. Researchers found kids built up higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies, compared to adults.

They found side effects to be similar, including sore arms and flu-like symptoms.

Dr. Katrina Hood, with Lexington Pediatric and Adolescent Associates, says she’s recommending children get the vaccine. While most children don’t get that sick from the virus, there are some exceptions.

Plus, Hood says kids who don’t show symptoms could spread covid to others.

“I know the excitement to then let children be with their grandparents and be around others and be more comfortable and be in school and do all the things that we hope we can get back to in the coming months,” Dr. Hood said. “The more we get vaccinated, the more we can do those things.”

Cassie Prather, the public health director for the Woodford County Health Department, says the rise in cases in young people could also be spreading variants.

“A petri dish for that virus to mutate and create more variants, and then it could essentially make the vaccine that we’ve given to our elderly population ineffective,” Prather said.

Prather says they haven’t been providing the Pfizer vaccine as it’s difficult to store, needing sub-zero degree temperatures. No, with the new age group eligible, they’re polling the community to see who would be interested in a clinic. Each shot, getting us closer to reaching our vaccine goal.

“It really is an act of love to get the vaccine to protect yourself and everyone around you,” Prather said.

For parents who may be hesitant for their children to get the shot, Dr. Hood recommends getting advice from their pediatrician or family doctor for advice.

In Kentucky, just over 15 percent of the state’s total cases have been in children ages newborn to 19. Still, that’s around 69,000 cases.

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