What it could mean for St. Louis area schools if FDA approves vaccine for 12-15 year olds

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ST. LOUIS – Parents and school administrators are likely to have their minds put at ease soon about getting teenagers vaccinated against Covid-19. CNN is reporting the FDA will authorize the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds by early next week, but what does this mean for St. Louis area schools?

If students are able to be vaccinated by the fall, that could allow for more normal gatherings and let administrators plan further ahead in the academic year.

“Our goal is, and we’re telling our public this, is to get back to as much normalcy or what we’d like to say is what we really want to do in Parkway is be in person and certainly have relationships where students certainly can mingle but we’re going to be a bit cautious,” Parkway School District Superintendent Dr. Keith Marty said.

Pfizer said its trials involving 2,260 12 to 15-year-olds showed its vaccine is 100% effective and well tolerated.

The vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use in people 16 and older.

“What they found is they had 18 cases of COVID in the arms that received a placebo, so they didn’t actually get the vaccine and they didn’t have any cases in the group that was vaccinated,” Dr. Rachel Charney Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital said.

Charney said having more vaccines approved for children is a big step in combating variants of the coronavirus.

“Having children vaccinated decreases the risk that those variants can spread through our community and develop,” Charney said. “That’s a pretty big deal that’s important to all of us. Those variants could wind up impacting children more.”

Charney said she believes we will always deal with COVID on some level and getting a vaccine will become part of our lives similar to getting a flu shot every year.

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