Will Anchorage parents vaccinate now that the CDC has approved Pfizer for younger children?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The State of Alaska said Wednesday it was notifying providers they could begin vaccinating adolescents as young as 12 years old against COVID-19 immediately now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15.
“We’ve been waiting for this day and are excited to begin protecting younger Alaskans against COVID-19,” Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said in a news release. “The authorization and approval of this vaccine for children age 12-15 will help keep our children from missing out on school, activities, camps and spending time with friends and family, which is so important for their growth and socialization.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in those as young as 12 on Monday. On Wednesday, the CDC recommended the vaccine’s use in those age 12 and older.
But while some parents may rush to make appointments, others may still be hesitant. At Cuddy Park in midtown Anchorage, dad Jon Nafsker said he would be willing to vaccinate his three young daughters once the vaccine was approved for their age level. He said he’d spoken to their pediatrician about it.
“She told us that the vaccine would soon be available for kids. And if my pediatrician tells me it’s good, I’m all for it,” he said.
At Fairview Lion’s Park, mom Brittany Haselow took a different view.
“I’m not vaccinated, and neither is he,” said Haselow, pointing to her young son. “I would never give my kid a vaccination just because it’s something that came out that’s so new.”
Some parents said they were vaccinated but were still unsure whether it was right for their children.
Katheryn Mowery pointed out that children may not get as sick as adults from COVID-19 but can still be carriers of the virus.
“Children are vaccinated from birth-on against all kinds of things,” said Mowery. “And this is certainly the worst thing that they should be vaccinated against right now.”
But several people said children should have a choice. Mom Alli Humphrey said the decision could also be used as a learning experience.
“In our house, it’s not just necessarily what I think, but I like having conversations with my kids about it,” said Humphrey. “And giving them the research, the pros and cons and asking what they think….In that age range, they’re smart enough to have an opinion about it.”
The Anchorage Health Department said at this point there are no mass vaccine clinics scheduled specifically for teens, however, most clinics in Anchorage will have the Pfizer vaccine within the next few days. Pop-up clinics are also being planned that will be geared towards youth.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in those as young as 12 on Monday, and that the CDC recommended its use on Wednesday.
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