Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force leader says vaccinations help get things ‘back to normal’

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ST. LOUIS – Several 12 to 15-year-olds were reportedly turned away Tuesday when they tried to get a COVID shot at the FEMA clinic downtown.

On Monday, the FDA approved lowering the vaccine age for emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine but a CDC advisory committee still hasn’t signed off on it.

The head of St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Dr. Alex Garza says he expects the CDC will allow 12 to 15-year-olds to receive the shot Wednesday afternoon.

The advisory committee at the CDC has been laying the framework for who gets vaccinated and the different priority levels.

“Just another check mark to move vaccinations to open up to this 12 to 15 year olds. So, I completely expect them to approve that today,” Garza said.

The CDC makes their recommendation, but Garza said it’s really up to the state to allow the vaccinations to take place.

“At the latest, I believe it will probably be this weekend that we will actually start seeing shots in arms,” Garza said.

Even though the data shows that younger people don’t have significant symptoms from COVID, they are not immune from transmitting it to others. Garza said this is the “true benefit” of vaccinating this age group.

He also said the side effects are very similar to the ones adults have been experiencing. These are a sore arm, fatigue, and fever.

Pfizer’s clinical trial in this age group is reporting 100 percent effectiveness.

Garza said now the task force is focused on getting the vaccine out into the community to those that are hesitant about getting it or have transportation issues.

He also wants everyone to know that the vaccine is highly effective against COVID-19 and is very safe. Garza also encourages people to get vaccinated in order to help get the community back to normal.

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