CLEVELAND, Ohio — Any day now, the Food and Drug Administration could authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 12-15. However, that's where some parents are drawing line: Rolling up their sleeves to get the vaccine themselves, but saying "no" when it comes to their kids.
Ashley Poindexter-Tarmy is among them. She believes in vaccines, just not this one – for now.
"I don't feel safe," she said. "If this had been on the market for 10-15 years and I had more data, then I would feel more comfortable."
A recent study showed more than 25% of parents do not intend to vaccinate their kids. Brandi Dawson confesses she was on the fence when it came to her 17-year-old son Junior before ultimately saying "yes."
"I just had to make that decision," she said. "Like, am I just going to take the risk and let him take it and just monitor him, or do I take the chance of him going out and potentially catching this virus?"
These parents are far from alone, and that has medical professionals working overtime addressing fears and myths. Among the most common: "Young people don't need the vaccine, especially if they are healthy." Others believe the vaccines were rushed and question whether they are safe for children.
"They should find comfort in the fact that vaccine development is proceeding cautiously and systemically, and the evaluation of these vaccines in children is very systemic," Dr. Buddy Creech, Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program Director, said.
The 12-15 age group accounts for about 16 million people in the U.S. Getting them vaccinated will get the nation one step closer to herd immunity.
That’s top of mind for high school senior Sydney Spessard, who is fully vaccinated.
"We all have to work together to make sure everyone's safe," she said. "So it's really not about you; it's about the whole community."
Canada Health just approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and up, and Pfizer's CEO says, pending FDA authorization, children 2-11 could be eligible by fall.
The American Academy of Pediatricians has issued guidance to doctors about the vaccination of kids. They say the FDA and CDC have been very transparent with the research, but they will continue to follow it.
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