Connecticut is preparing to begin COVID-19 vaccinations for kids ages 12 to 15 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer shot to be given on an emergency use basis on Monday.
This now marks the youngest age group eligible to get the vaccine.
At Wolcott High School, they were already preparing for the approval of the vaccine before the announcement. They will be holding a clinic for 12 to 15-year-olds this Sunday in the gymnasium.
With the official approval and millions now being able to get the vaccine, where do we go from here?
State officials said the plan is to extend weekend options when it comes to clinics noting that for 16 and 17-year-olds who needed parent/guardian consent, it was the preferred time.
Although doctors said when it comes to COVID-19, younger children typically have mild cases. At the same time, some don't and the child ends up in the intensive care unit.
The FDA reports when comparing about 1,000 children who received the vaccine and around 1,000 who didn't, the vaccine was 100% effective in preventing infection.
For health officials, the approval was a welcomed announcement.
"In my opinion the benefits for your child to prevent the unusual, but very serious illnesses they can get as well as prevention of spread to other people in the family who could be sick from it and us moving us back to a normal situation for children, to me those benefits outweigh any theoretical risk," said Connecticut Children's Chief of Infectious Diseases Dr. John Schreiber. "And we're not really seeing a lot of risk from the Pfizer vaccine." he added.
In Wolcott, the superintendent said that heading into next year, some of the classroom level quarantines will continue on a needed basis, but he's making it clear to parents that if their child is fully vaccinated, they will have a much smoother school experience in the next academic year.
Mirlinda Abou-Arrag, of Wolcott, said
an email was sent out about vaccines for children.
“I did state I would have him take the shot. My daughter got the shot and she’s 16. I got the shot. My husband got the shot and we would be fully vaccinated,” Abou-Arrag said.
Mohammed Houbai, of Wolcott, said he does not want to see the United States experience a surge in cases like India is experiencing.
“We all need to be vaccinated. We don’t want this pandemic to spread more and we see what’s happening now in India. We don’t want that to happen here,” Houbai said.
Dr. Anthony Gasper, superintendent of schools in Wolcott, said they respect every parent’s decision to choose whether to vaccinate a child, but said the CDC has determined that people who can get vaccinated can be in close contact and not have to quarantine.
“So, taking away the need for so many people to quarantine will help us have a much smoother school year next year,” he added.