NewsCovering Kentucky

Actions

Kentuckians preparing to vaccinate younger teens

Pfizer Vaccine
Posted at 10:16 PM, May 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-08 23:23:29-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be available for kids ages 12 through 15 as early as next week.

That’s why some Kentucky healthcare providers are getting ready to give the shot to younger teens.

Eric Green is a dad of two in Lexington. He says he and his wife got their shots early this year, and they’re now eager to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible. The opportunity could come soon for their 13-year-old Vivian.

“Having my kids protected, and us protected, and people I care for, that’s what I want,” Green told LEX18.

He’s waiting for the go-ahead from the FDA, and so are doctors like Dr. Elizabeth Hawse at Commonwealth Pediatrics in Lexington.

“This is kind of our bread and butter,” Hawse said Friday. “We’re used to keeping things at certain temperatures. We’re used to documenting lot numbers. We’re using to rotating our expiration dates and making sure things aren’t expired. That’s what we do every day. It’s so automatic to us.”

Her office is already adding families to a waiting list for the shot. They’re starting with 100 doses and will likely have to order more since 90 families have signed up as of Friday afternoon. The doctor’s office has already vaccinated older teens, so they are familiar with the process. For now, they will only sign existing patients up for the vaccine, but Dr. Hawse said they are not ruling out opening up appointments to the public at a later date.

Across Kentucky, vaccine demand is slowing down for other age groups.

Right now, CDC data shows almost 18,000 Kentuckians ages 16 and 17 have received at least one dose of Pfizer. Health officials say vaccinating pre-teens could help the state reach our goal of herd immunity, though it’s still far off.

“Kids in Kentucky are about 20 percent of the population, so if we’re working towards 70 or 80 percent, then that’s a significant part,” Dr. Hawse said.

Health officials in Montgomery County are also preparing to vaccinate younger teens. Public Health Director Allison Napier confirmed they’ll have 200 doses for kids 12 and up, as soon as the FDA gives emergency authorization.

According to Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, they do not carry the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only shot approved for people younger than 18.

Dr. Hawse told LEX18 she understands many parents across Kentucky might have reservations about the vaccine, but it’s important for families to talk to their doctor if they’re feeling unsure.

“I would encourage people to get vaccinated,” she said. “If you have concerns, I would encourage you to speak one on one with your physician, or your nurse practitioner, or a pharmacist. Talk to somebody, and ask them your questions.”

She hopes the answers will help make Kentucky a safer place for children.

“Whatever it takes to get us to immunity, where we can have a little bit more normalcy, is probably the best thing for kids in our community.”