TOPEKA, (KSNT) — Young teens ages 12 to 15 will have to wait on the Centers for Disease Control before they can get COVID-19 vaccines, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed Tuesday.
“Providers in Kansas will be alerted when this happens by KDHE and given any additional information/instructions at that time,” a spokesperson for the department told KSNT’s Capitol Bureau in an email.
The next step following the FDA’s approval is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to vote on this during a meeting on Wednesday.
The FDA announced the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in teens 12 to 15 years old on Monday. Previously, only those 16 and up were eligible for the vaccine.
Shots could begin as soon as Thursday, after the federal advisory committee’s decision. An announcement is expected Wednesday.
“This is a watershed moment in our ability to fight back the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president who’s also a pediatrician, told the Associated Press.
Children are far less likely than adults to get seriously ill from COVID-19, yet they represent nearly 14% of the nation’s coronavirus cases. At least 296 have died from the virus in the U.S. alone, and more than 15,000 have been hospitalized, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
That data does not count the toll of family members becoming ill or dying — or the disruption to school, sports and other activities so crucial to children’s overall well-being. Experts say children must get the shots if the country is to vaccinate 70% to 85% of the population necessary to reach what’s called herd immunity.