The next frontier in the effort to vaccinate the population, getting shots into the arms of children, took a big step closer to happening Wednesday.
Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in children ages 12 through 15.
“As a pediatrician, this is really exciting to find out that the vaccine is very effective for that age group, this is something we haven’t been able to offer young teenagers at this point, and we’re looking forward to seeing them get FDA approval so we can move forward,” Dr. Ronald Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.
But as if to remind everyone that the pandemic is far from over, Memorial Regional Hospital, on the same campus as DiMaggio Children’s, held a ceremony marking one year since their health care professionals have been fighting the coronavirus. Doctors and nurses honored the patients they could not save, and they recognized their own dedication, sadness, and emotional exhaustion.
“This year has challenged us beyond belief,” said Memorial Regional Hospital CEO, Peter Powers.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel but it’s certainly not over, we’re still fighting this uphill battle and yes, the vaccine’s out there and we just gotta get more people together vaccinated,” said Sehoon Paik, a nurse manager in the COVID-19 ward.
That’s why today’s announcement by Pfizer is so important.
Dr. Ford says he already sees demand among parents for a kids’ vaccine.
“Every day, every day someone asks about when the vaccine will be available for younger adolescents and children,” Ford said. “Vaccines have over and over been proven safe and effective for children, both young children and adolescents, and now that we have this new data from Pfizer about the safety and efficacy of this vaccine, I strongly encourage all parents to have their children vaccinated, for schools, this is a game-changer, this really adds an extra layer of safety for kids returning back to in-person learning.”
So far, there has been no indication of when the vaccine will be made available for that 12-15 age group, and there is also no guidance yet from the CDC or the state of Florida about whether a COVID-19 vaccination should be added to the list of mandatory vaccinations to attend public schools.
The doctors and nurses at Wednesday's ceremony want everyone to remember the pandemic is not over. COVID-19 is still killing about a thousand Americans every day.
“Wear your mask, continue to wear your mask and socially distance,” said frontline nurse Cheryl Birmingham.