By Samuetta Hill Drew
Fully vaccinated Americans are beginning to enjoy the fruits of their vaccine by returning to a reasonable sense of normalcy based upon the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Unfortunately, many unvaccinated individuals are riding the new CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals’ “coattails” by not continuing to practice COVID-19 safety guidelines of wearing masks, social distancing and washing of one’s hands frequently. These individuals continue to put others at risk because of their behavior. Keep in mind that Alabama ranks second from the bottom in the number of its qualified residents being vaccinated.
Recently adolescents 12 years and older have joined both groups – fully vaccinated and unvaccinated. This article is the first in a series on this topic concerning COVID-19 vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech and adolescents.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first gave authorization to adolescents 16 years and older in late 2020. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SA have received emergency authorization for use in adolescents as young as 12 years of age in the United States, Europe, and Canada.
According to the CDC, nearly 7 million teens in the United States have received at least one dose. Their vaccine dose is equivalent to the adult dose which is 30 micrograms.
Two doses of the vaccine are also required for adolescents 12 years and older. The second dose should given 21 days apart. The second dose can be given up to six weeks after the first dose, if needed.
Research has shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus in adolescents ages 12 through 15. Previous research has shown that the vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms in people 16 and older.
Many have questioned how the FDA determines the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents ages 12 to 15. According to the FDA, a study of more than 2, 200 adolescents ages 12 to 15 was conducted. Of this group, about half were given Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The other children were given a harmless fake (placebo) shot.
A week after the second dose was given, research showed no cases of COVID-19 in the 1,005 adolescents given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Among the 978 others given the placebo, there were 16 cases of COVID-19. None of the adolescents had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19. The results suggest that the vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing the COVID-19 virus in this group.
Adolescents 12 years and older getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is considered a critical step toward reaching “herd immunity” and taming the COVID-19 pandemic which helps Keep an Eye on Safety for families and the community at large.