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Miss. pediatrician says older teens should take vaccine when available

Updated: Dec. 14, 2020 at 7:02 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Pfizer’s new coronavirus vaccine is approved for people 16 years and older, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says it will be months before younger children will have one they can take.

One local pediatrician and a teenager say they are in favor of the new vaccine.

”I miss out on going to see friends, going to the mall and going to have fun.”

Meet Stacy Washington. He is a 17-year-old student at River City Early College. He admits the pandemic has been a headache.

So, when Washington heard that a COVID vaccine was approved for adults and teens his age, he told 3 On your Side he would be willing to get the shot.

“I will be in favor of taking the vaccine. I can go back to a regular life where you can go to basketball games and go hang out with your friends.”

Health officials say it could late spring or early summer before that happens when more doses of the vaccine are available to the public.

“Someone 18 or 19 and they are working on the front lines or healthcare arena, they are going to be able to be vaccinated, but somebody in high school, they are lower on the priority list,” said Pediatrician Dr. John Gaudet.

Dr. John Gaudet is the president of the Mississippi Chapter- American Academy of Pediatrics.

He still supports older teens receiving the vaccine when it is available because they can also get ill and transmit the virus easily.

“In Mississippi, 12% of the coronavirus infections are children under 18. Young people, we definitely want to vaccinate them.

Even though they don’t get terribly sick and they don’t end up in the hospital, children can still inadvertently spread this virus, not even know they are sick, and spread this virus to other people who are more susceptible.”

Gaudet is hoping children younger than 16 would also have access to their own vaccine as they return to class next year.

“I will tell you that physicians, myself, and groups I am member of such as the American Academy of Pediatrics are advocating for these continued studies and for the drug companies to look at the safety and the effectiveness of this vaccine in children.”

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