Teens aged 12 to 15 were able to start getting vaccinated against Covid-19 across the United States on Thursday, after Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine authorization was extended earlier this week for that slice of age. In total, around 17 million young people are now eligible for the vaccine, and 15,000 pharmacies have already been mobilized.
Adolescents generally develop less severe forms of Covid-19 than adults. But they are not immune to infection, and can therefore participate in the transmission of the virus within the population. Their immunization should therefore help slow the epidemic. But also allow them to resume a more “normal” life. Everyone can also put aside their mask: the health authorities on Thursday lifted the obligation to wear this symbol of the pandemic for vaccinated people, except in transport, airports and train stations.
The same vaccine as for adults
The vaccine given to 12-15 year olds is the same as that for adults, including the dosage, and many vaccination centers already in place have only had to lower the accepted age range. However, the authorities are seeking to quickly set up other distribution channels, in even more practical places such as schools, or pediatricians, known to families and having their trust.
Because not all parents are necessarily enthusiastic: among those with children between 12 and 15 years old, nearly a quarter declared in mid-April that they would not have them vaccinated, and only three in ten said they wanted to do so as soon as possible, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The vaccine for children between 12 and 15 years old is safe, effective, practical, fast and free,” insisted on Wednesday US President Joe Biden, who is stepping up interventions to encourage parents to take the plunge.
The American Medicines Agency (FDA) had given its authorization Monday after studying data from clinical trials on about 2,000 young people. Some localities had started to vaccinate adolescents on Tuesday, but the vast majority of the country awaited the final green light from the Centers for the Prevention and Control of Diseases (CDC), the country’s main federal public health agency, issued Wednesday evening .