DHEC prepares for expected Pfizer vaccine approval for children ages 12-15

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Getting all adults to get vaccinated is already a huge step, but getting parents to get their kids to get the vaccine against COVID-19 has become another hurdle to end the pandemic.

Pfizer says they’re expecting authorization from the FDA to use their vaccine for children ages 12-15 in the coming days.

The company says they saw 100% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infections during clinical trials among the age group.

Despite that, parents such as Angela Spivey are still hesitant over the choice they have to make.

“You got an infant, you gotta put those shots in them. It’s the risk you’ve gotta take,” she said. “I was probably against it, but then when I started hearing more people talk especially doctors and stuff I was kind of thinking about it.”

Like many other parents, she’s still on the fence and said she needs more information.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said they understand.

“We’ve been preparing for this forthcoming announcement for a long time,” DHEC’s Dr. Jane Kelly said.

State health leaders are working on addressing parents’ questions now, ahead of the expected approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

Kelly said they’re even trying to plan family clinics at schools so parents and kids could get vaccinated together.

While children’s risk of getting a severe reaction from COVID-19 can be low, Kelly explained it’s critical for kids to get vaccinated to put an end to the pandemic.

She added that variants form when the virus is able to keep spreading, which could happen if children remain unvaccinated.

“This is an important group that congregates together, shares viruses together, it is important to get them vaccinated as well,” she said.

Right now, Kelly said DHEC is not looking at having the state require schools to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory.

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