Ages 12-15 can get vaccinated -- what parents should keep in mind

A Pfizer vaccine is administered at the Lubbock Health Department clinic
A Pfizer vaccine is administered at the Lubbock Health Department clinic(Source: KCBD)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 7:58 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As of this morning Texans as young as 12 years old can get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest Census count shows that under this new guidance, up to 1.7 million more Texans could be vaccinated. Although teens aged 12 to 15 are allowed to get the shot, vaccinating people in this age group requires some form of parental consent. We spoke with an East Texas mom and her teen, as well as a pediatrician, about this new change.

“I look at it as an opportunity to protect your child, for those rare cases where children are more seriously affected,” said Dr. Dr. Michael Austin, a pediatrician with UT Health East Texas, “I look at it as an opportunity to protect your family.”

Pfizer’s late-stage vaccine study in people 16 and older was extended to the younger teens, testing for any differences in the shots performance. The results showed none of the kids who got the real doses developed COVID-19, compared with those who got the dummy shots. Dr. Austin said while deaths and hospitalizations are rare in children, they see long-term effects of COVID-19 on their young patients.

“[Symptoms like] brain fog, school difficulties, chronic coughs, especially in our children with chronic respiratory disease, like asthma, that it’s not just death, but the other comorbidities that go with COVIS that concerns us about children,” said Dr. Austin.

For one mom from Tyler, her worry is COVID-19 infection.

“We’ve seen first hand how it can impact the healthy,” said Laura Owens, mother to five children ages 13 to 19.

All of her kids, except for the youngest two, have been vaccinated. Although, it wasn’t just up to mom and dad. Her 16 year old, Rachel Lamb, said her choice to get vaccinated wasn’t just for her own safety.

“I work with a lot of older people too at my job. So I feel better being around them also, I feel more comfortable knowing there’s an extremely small chance I can give them anything,” said Rachel.

Owens says before making a final decision on getting her youngest teens vaccinated, they plan on hearing any concerns from their children and speaking with their pediatrician.

“If we can look toward our professionals, like our pediatricians, our family healthcare providers, to guide us into what’s safest? I think that’s always a good decision.”

Dr. Austin said he hopes to administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the pediatrics clinic soon and that they’re working with the health department to get that process started.

We’re looking at getting an update on when vaccine could be in that clinic by next week.

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