Lake Area pediatrician weighs in on FDA’s approval of Pfizer vaccine for tweens and teens
(Editor’s note: This story was originally publishedPublished: May. 14, 2021 at 8:22 PM EDT|Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:26 PM EDT on www.kplctv.com)
LAKE CHARLES, La. (Great Health Divide) - Pre-teens in Southwest Louisiana can start getting their shots of the COVID vaccine as early as next week.
This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age earlier this week.
Before that, only people 16 years old and up were able to receive the vaccines. The company had announced recently they would seek authorization to expand the age range.
“The reception has been good overall. As far as how many people want versus don’t want the vaccine, that’s kind of early stages,” said Pediatrician Anatole Karpovs, M.D.
Over the last year, Dr. Karpovs has treated many patients between 12 and 15 who contracted coronavirus.
“There has been surges where we’ve seen up to half of our patients testing positive. Then we’ve seen lulls where it’s been very few of them. Lately, so far, we’ve been blessed to have not many cases,” said Karpovs.
With the FDA’s authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for tweens and teens, Karpovs says it will not only help protect kids but hopefully mitigate the spread of the virus in schools.
“I think it can be a step towards getting rid of the virus in the community. It’s not going to be enough by itself though.”
To date, The Louisiana Department of Health has reported nearly 50,000 cases in young people ages 5 to 17 - 7of which resulted in death.
“There’s probably a lot more children out there who contracted it but really didn’t have man symptoms - didn’t enough symptoms to even come into the doctor’s office to get tested,” said Karpovs.
At this time, local children’s clinics and CVS pharmacies are leading the charge in getting the youngest group vaccinated.
“The process will involve education, teaching about the potential side-effects to look for, when to call our office to get a follow up if there are any bad side-effects. And also how to report side effects that you may be getting, because that’s a very important part of the process.”
The Children’s Clinic of Southwest Louisiana is currently scheduling appointments for those aged 12 to 15.
If you would like your child to receive the vaccine, call the clinic at 478-6480. A physician will contact you to schedule the first dose of the vaccine. When your child receives the first dose, they will schedule for the second dose 3 weeks later.
According to Dr. Karpovs, the side effects that kids may experience do not really differ from those seen by adults.
Next up is testing whether the vaccine works for younger children. Both Pfizer and Moderna have begun U.S. studies in children ages 6 months to 11 years. Those studies explore whether babies, preschoolers and elementary-age kids will need different doses than teens and adults.
Dr. Karpovs said he encourages every age group that is eligible for a vaccine to get one.
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