With the expanded emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement that recommends all children aged 12 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The statement comes alongside discussion from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The statement also supports giving other immunizations at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly any vaccines that the child is behind on because of the pandemic. Response and side effects are similar whether vaccines are delivered separately or alone and any theoretical risks are outweighed by the benefits. Some pediatric offices are providing the vaccine whereas other clinicians are coordinating with local health authorities to provide vaccine access.
In the press release for the statement, AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, “As a pediatrician and a parent, I have looked forward to getting my own children and patients vaccinated, and I am thrilled that those ages 12 and older can now be protected. The data continue to show that this vaccine is safe and effective. I urge all parents to call their pediatrician to learn more about how to get their children and teens vaccinated. We’ve seen the harm done to children’s mental and emotional health as they’ve missed out on so many experiences during the pandemic. Vaccinating children will protect them and allow them to fully engage in all of the activities—school, sports, socializing with friends and family— that are so important to their health and development.”