SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New data suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is very effective in children who are 12 to 15 years old. In the placebo group, 18 kids got COVID-19. That is compared with no infections in the vaccinated group and no serious side effects from the vaccine.
Now, the companies are gearing up to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the Emergency Use Authorization to include those ages 12 and up instead of just 16 and up. They hope to start vaccinating that younger age group before the next school year starts.
Communications Director Matt Beiber said the New Mexico Department of Health is watching closely to see what happens as the vaccine continues to go through the approval process.
“Everybody kind of knows that you can’t get to full herd immunity without kids, and we might as well be clear about that,” he said. “We can do well. We can vaccinate almost the full adult population in New Mexico but to really get us to where we need to go, we need kids as well and so this is a good, promising first step in that direction.”
KRQE News 13 also asked about a distribution plan for children in New Mexico. “Obviously [the Public Education Department] would likely be a big player in vaccine distribution potentially to children,” Bieber replied.
However, Bieber said it is still too early to know exactly what that might look like. “As soon as we have clear indication that those vaccines will be available to kids, we will have a plan to make sure that every kid in New Mexico has that opportunity,” Bieber said.
Vaccine trials are also ongoing for children under 12 years old. Children make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population.