Pfizer vaccine expected to be available for 12-15-year-old next week, what it means for students

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - As vaccine distribution efforts continue, a new age group is now in the mix.

The Pfizer vaccine is expected to become the first with emergency authorization by the FDA to vaccinate children from 12 to 15 years old as early as next week, according to the New York Times.

“We have been waiting and waiting for this vaccine to be approved and I’m so happy that adolescents are now eligible,” South Bend pediatrician Saira Rahman told 16 News Now Tuesday.

This comes one month after health officials revealed clinical trials showed no signs of symptomatic infection. However, despite a push from local pediatricians, like Rahman, for children to get vaccinated, many school districts across Michiana, like Niles Community Schools, say they are not ready to make the vaccine mandatory just yet.

“At this point, it would take an order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or working with our locals to navigate that,” Niles Community Schools COVID-19 Preparedness Coordinator Tracy Hertsel says.

Other school districts, like Elkhart Community Schools, say they are staying firm on their stance to not require the vaccine.

“If the vaccines move beyond emergency authorization and the State of Indiana requires the vaccination, then we would follow those state requirements like we do for other vaccinations,” Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Thalheimer said in a statement.

Currently, the state of Indiana is requiring these vaccines for students K-12 in 2021-2022.

Indiana student vaccine requirements
Indiana student vaccine requirements(WNDU)

The idea of adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list, something South Bend pediatrician Saira Rahman says may be the key to ending the pandemic.

“About 3.7 million kids have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 15,000 have been hospitalized, and more than 300 have died so this does affect children. It is important for children to be immunized to help end this pandemic,” Rahman says.

16 News Now also reached out to South Bend Schools Tuesday about whether or not mandatory COVID-19 vaccines are in their future. However, they did not provide a response.

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