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With Nearly Half of US Adults Vaccinated, FDA Considers Vaccinating Teenagers

From Audio: Monday, May 10th
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With 43% of U.S. adults vaccinated, this week the FDA could decide to authorize the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year-olds.
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several factors make it seem possible the United States could be heading for a more normal summer. New coronavirus cases are falling and the says 43% of the adult population in this country is fully vaccinated. And this week the FDA is expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for Children aged 12 to 15. NPR's Allison Aubrey is on the line. Hey there. Alison Good morning steve. So how is the testing of the vaccine going for 12 to 15 year olds? Well, scientists at the FDA have been reviewing the clinical trial data. It included more than 2000 kids in this age group and it appears it's all positive steve kids develop a lot of antibodies. They have very mild side effects. I spoke to Patricia stench field, she's a non voting member of the CDCs advisory Committee on immunization practices. Now this is the group that makes recommendations, she says from what's been released so far, the vaccine appears to be very effective. Then this age group seems to be 100% effective. No child in the study on that 12 to 15 year old adolescence got covid. As for side effects. There are some fevers, though not many, some had arm pain, just like adults and stench. Field says the benefits far outweigh the risks. It seems. So that would explain why approval seems to be coming. But how many parents are willing to have their kids vaccinated. You know, A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds only three and 10 parents of Children in this age group say they will get their kids vaccinated as soon as it's available. Many say they will wait. I spoke to Dr Lee beers, she's president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She says she's not surprised that there's some hesitancy and says pediatricians will be working hard in the coming weeks to reassure parents and answer their questions. We, as pediatricians feel incredibly confident in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We feel confident in the process that led to its development and are really, really incredibly encouraged. She is the mom of a 12 year old also and she has her child on a list to get vaccinated as soon as it's available. I have a question about another aspect of the vaccine story. Alison, if we go back in our memories too late last year, the fighter vaccine, of course was approved in the last several months, but it was an emergency authorization. Now we're told fighters applied for full FDA approval of the vaccine for adults. What difference would that make? You know? Full approval would give the vaccine makers, uh, the ability to market the vaccine directly to consumers, but also steve full approval. Could pave the way for more mandatory requirements. For instance, many hospitals, health care institutions, they require their employees to get the flu shot every year. We could see that for covid vaccines perhaps in the military or more schools may require it, wow. So the big picture then we're looking at the summer. What's the outlook? The most recent models are very encouraging. CDC director Dr Rochelle WAlensky has said if vaccinations keep apace, there's a reason to be quite hopeful that for what this summer may bring now over the weekend, Dr Anthony Fauci was asked, is it time to relax or drop indoor mask mandates his response, we do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated as you get more people vaccinated. The number of cases per day will absolutely go down. We're averaging about 43,000 day. We've got to get it much, much lower than that. So he's saying steve hang tight as cases go down. Vaccinations increase. The guidelines will relax. Alison, thanks. Thank you. Steve. That's NPR's Allison operates