The importance of getting the next age group vaccinated

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– People are awaiting the release of the COVID-19 vaccine for the age group that is seeing the second largest number of cases: the twelve to fifteen year-old age group.

About a month ago, Pfizer submitted their data showing positive outcomes for both the ethical and safety aspects on their vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, Dr. David Basel, Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group says.

Typically, about a month after that data is released, Basel says that is when you can expect to see a change in those guidelines.

“We’re a month out now, so we’re really expecting sometime in the month of May that the EUA will be changed and allow the ages down to twelve years and older,” Basel said.

There has been some talk that these guidelines may be released as early as next week, but there is nothing official out there yet, Basel says. The CDC’s meeting scheduled for this Friday does not have it on the agenda, he says, but the may have a special meeting outside of the regular meetings to address it.

They are seeing a lot of COVID-19 transmission happening within the teenage group, Basel says. It is the second highest rate, following the 20-24 age group.

“Although, certainly younger people tend to do better, that’s where the reservoir of infection is right now,” Basel says. “That’s where its being passed back and forth and then it gets passed from them to somebody who is older or at risk who then might get hospitalized.”

It is critical that when that age does get lowered, that we get that group vaccinated, Basel says, because it is a key group of where COVID-19 is spreading right now.

Although there is a lower risk of something simnifically happening related to COVID-19 in that age group, Basel says there have been patients as young as age six that have died.

“You are definitely protecting your kids by getting them vaccinated,” Basel said.

There are studies going on in children in as young as age six months for both Pfizer and Moderna, Basel says, but he hasn’t heard about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doing those studies.

Basel thinks the next age grouping will be ages five to 12-year-olds and he says this data should come out sometime late this summer, possibly in time for school to start.

Then, the six months to five year-old age group is about a month or two behind the other data, Basel says, so we may see those guidelines released around September or October.

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