As early as next week, more than 170,000 12- to 15-year-olds in Connecticut could be the next group eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The ramp-up for the rollout already underway as state health leaders wait for the FDA’s approval.
“We saw in March some data and over 2,000 kids that it was 100% protected for those kids that were fully vaccinated,” Dr. Jody Terranova, pediatrician and president-elect of the Connecticut chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said.
Terranova is also a member of the science subcommittee Governor’s Advisory Task Force for the Covid 19 vaccine. She says where children will get their vaccine is still to be determined.
Thursday the Connecticut Department of Public Health released a statement: statement: “The vaccine hasn't been approved for 12-15 years olds yet, so those details haven't been completely set yet, though we are communicating with our vaccine providers in order to prepare for the likelihood that the vaccine will be approved for this age group soon.
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"As with the 16-17-year-olds, 12-15-year-olds will presumably be able to receive their vaccination at any provider who is administering the Pfizer vaccine. Details on which providers would be available to this age group will be available on the ct.gov/covidvaccine webpage.
"Details on special clinics or other arrangements that may be made to vaccinate this group will be announced when available. At the present time, because of the unique storage and handling requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, many pediatrician offices are not able to administer the vaccine to their patients. We are hopeful that future packaging and other changes may allow for us to work directly with pediatrician offices to administer the vaccine to their patients.”
“I don’t think one size fits all for this age group,” Mark Masselli, president & for CEO Community Health Center, Inc. said.
Masselli says CHC is reaching out to superintendents and principals throughout its 200-plus school-based health care network. Out of 75,000 tests for young people through CHC, Masselli says 10% have tested positive.
“We are very concerned about young people and the impact on them thank God there’s a vaccine now because they had no protection prior to this point so this is very important to make sure they get vaccinated,” Masselli said.
Masselli says while schools will be an option for some 12- to 15-year-olds to receive the vaccine through CHC, other locations, part of its new ABC initiative, will make it available at amusement parks, beaches and camps.
“Requiring vaccines has always been a very controversial issue,” Terranova said.
Terranova said it will be up to DPH to decide if COVID-19 vaccines will be required for students to return to the classroom come fall. The CT Association of Public School Superintendents said Thursday there has not been any conversation about making COVID-19 vaccine a requirement.
“If COVID is still epidemic in the community even if it’s not quite pandemic, then they would be a good reason to require that because we still need to reduce our community spread,” Terranova said.