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Pfizer vaccine receives emergency use authorization for children ages 12 to 15

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: May 13, 2021
Adolescent vaccination

Fourteen-year-old Allison was the first adolescent recipient of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the UTHealth Vaccine Hub. (Photo provided by family)

On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 years old. The Texas Health and Human Services department has also given their approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for this age range.

Michael L. Chang, MD
Michael L. Chang, MD

“The emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine in 12- to 15-year-old patients is a huge step toward returning to normalcy for our middle and high schoolers,” said Michael L. Chang, MD, pediatric infectious disease expert with UT Physicians.

While children have been less affected by the virus compared to adults, there has been more positive cases of infection among their age group. With this EUA, teens will have the opportunity to become vaccinated before summer activities and the following school year.

Parents can expect similar side effects for their teens as has been reported in adult recipients of the Pfizer vaccine.

“With the Pfizer vaccine for adults, symptoms have been primarily localized pain, redness, and possibly some swelling at the site of injection. Mild fatigue, body and muscle aches, fever, and headaches are less common, but can occur,” said Chang, assistant professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Some individuals report more symptoms after their second dose.”

While the symptoms after a first or second dose may be uncomfortable for an adult or teenager, Chang says that the risks of contracting COVID-19 far outweigh the discomfort of the vaccine. Although children aren’t as likely to develop severe illness if infected with the virus, they can still sustain long-term effects from it.

“When you think about these teens who have felt isolated during the pandemic, it makes me happy to imagine that soon they will be able to regain a significant sense of normalcy, see their friends in person, and reduce their anxiety about potentially harming their friends and family,” said Chang.

Visit our vaccine page for more information and to schedule your child a vaccination appointment.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.