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Sedgwick County preparing for 12-15-year-olds to get COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County is preparing for a new group of people to get their COVID-19 vaccines. If your child is between 12 and 15, they are next in line in eligibility to be vaccinated against the virus. Pfizer is waiting for emergency-use authorization from the FDA for that age group. That could come any day. It’s just a matter of time as the Sedgwick County Health Department had expected the FDA to approve a vaccine for the 12-15-year-old age group in mid April.

“When we were hearing about the (emergency use authorization) hopefully getting approved, we reached out to (USD) 259 and they are very on board with wanting to assist with vaccinating,” Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said. “It really just depends on the timeline.”

Approving vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds would mean 45,000 kids in Sedgwick County will be able to get a shot.

“We’re hoping a large percentage of those get vaccinated,” Byrne said. “One of the things we really want help with parents is, we have a community survey on Sedgwick County’s website right now, asking where they would feel comfortable getting their kids vaccinated. We will have this site open to be able to do that.”

With summer around the corner, health officials are already preparing for back-to-school next year. Doctors children and teens will play a part in reaching herd immunity.

“Pfizer has data, they had a study of almost 3,000 children in the age range, 12 to 15 years old, and it works out very, very well, and there were no serious side effects,” said Dr. Amy Seery with Ascension Via Christi Pediatrics. “The mild side effects are pretty common.”

These mild side effects include soreness and fatigue. Seery said the 12-to-15-year-old age group is also important “because we know this is an age group that is very prone to spreading the virus.”

“So w really do need to make sure that we can get these kids back to their normal lives, (and) we do it in such a way that keeps them and everything around it safe.”

Dr. Seery also pointed out that if enough of the older children and teens get vaccinated before the start of school next year, school districts could begin the conversation of dropping mask requirements.

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