BOSTON (CBS) – Following Monday’s FDA vote to approve the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in 12-15-year-olds, Boston Children’s Hospital began vaccinating kids in that age group on Tuesday.
In a post on Facebook, the hospital alerted parents of appointments being made available for kids. When Patti Butler of Waltham went to sign up for a slot for her 15-year-old Evan, she found one only an hour later on Tuesday afternoon.READ MORE: Boston Celebrates Life And Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“I was excited,” Butler said. “We’ve been waiting for this.” Butler’s older child, daughter Amy, is immunocompromised, so the family has been strict about social distancing throughout the pandemic. Fifteen-year-old Evan learned remotely all year and gave up his job at a local grocery store to protect his sister. “He has been really supportive,” Patti said. “He has years under his belt of knowing that healthcare is a family project for us…I think he is also ready to return to school, seeing friends on the playground, playing pick up basketball.”
The FDA approved the vaccine for emergency use on Monday in early teens, clearing the way for use, though most states decided to wait until the CDC votes to formally recommend use of the vaccine — a vote that will likely happen Wednesday. The state of Massachusetts has not formally rolled out use of the shot in this new age group, despite shots being administered at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“The Administration awaits further guidance from the federal government following the ACIP meeting on Wednesday and is actively planning for the vaccination of 12-15 year old individuals,” a Massachusetts COVID Command Center spokesperson said. “Individuals 12-15 can preregister now for vaccination by visiting mass.gov and receive an email with booking instructions as soon as this expanded eligibility begins.”READ MORE: Arizona Mother Worried Son's Surgery In Boston Will Be Rescheduled Again Due To COVID
Despite epidemiologists and pediatricians encouraging families to get kids vaccinated against COVID-19, some parents say they don’t plan to do so. “It seems really silly to vaccinate a population on a vaccine that’s emergency use for something that’s not affecting them greatly,” Spencer resident Jennifer Wilson told WBZ. Her 12-year-old daughter Madelyn is now eligible for a shot. “Who knows? In 10-20 years down the line, we have no idea what side effects this is going to cause people.”
Scientists and public health experts have said repeatedly that the vaccine is safe.
Wilson works at a pharmacy and says she doesn’t feel her kids need the vaccine since they likely wouldn’t get deeply ill if they contracted COVID-19. “I’m not telling anyone not to get their vaccines,” Wilson told WBZ. “I’m saying if you look at the [infection] numbers, for them to be forcing this down the throats of 12-year-olds is absolutely ridiculous.”
The ACIP – an outside CDC panel on vaccines – is meeting Wednesday, and will vote whether or not to recommend the Pfizer vaccine for use in children ages 12-15.MORE NEWS: How Long Should You Wait To Be Boosted After Getting COVID? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your COVID Questions
To find out more about COVID vaccinations in Massachusetts and where you can get one visit mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.