Pfizer vaccine authorized for ages 12 and up, local medical experts weigh in

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Children as young as 12 can be vaccinated against COVID-19. The FDA announced Monday the Pfizer vaccine is authorized to anyone 12 years and older. Previously, only those ages 16 and up could get vaccinated.

“We know this is a big step for our country,” said FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock. “Vaccinating a younger population brings us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”

Medical experts say the vaccine eligibility will also help as we look to reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning. With this expansion, all high school students and most middle school students can be vaccinated.

“This age group and others will be critical to making our schools safer, and I think what they’ll look forward to the most is if they’re fully vaccinated, that opens up being able to do a variety of indoor activities safely,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Thomas Russo.

And this vaccine expansion comes as younger people are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates.

“We do know that this age group is one of the age groups we’re seeing higher positivity rates, so if we can get this age group vaccinated, again, it’s a step towards what we consider as normal as we can get at this point,” said Dr. Joseph Chow.

Experts say those as young as six-months-old could one day become eligible for the vaccine, though they don’t think that’s happening any time soon. At the earliest, we won’t see that authorization until the fall.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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