Pediatricians face difficulty as parents push for kids under 12 to get vaccinated

As of now children 12 and up can be vaccinated against COVID-19, but apparently, that’s not stopping many parents of kids 11 and under from putting pressure on their pediatricians.

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"Many parents have been reaching out to their pediatricians to see if the vaccine could be available to their children off-label," explained American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Lee Beers. "We too feel urgency in having a vaccine available for children under the age of 12, but we also know that it’s really important to follow the FDA guidance and to follow the policies and procedures that are in place to make sure we have a safe and effective vaccine."

As previously reported by The Washington Post, the problem has become prevalent enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics posted a warning on their website earlier this week, and the CDC has posted about the issue as well.

Beers said that beyond the fact that the FDA has not yet approved the vaccine for younger children, other problems also arise. She said doctors could open themselves up to problems if they were to get behind what’s referred to as the off-label use of vaccines, including potential lawsuits. Also, experts still don’t fully understand how the vaccine will affect young kids.

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"There’s reasons that we go through these very careful trials to determine the right dose for safety and efficacy, and it does appear that the dose will be less for younger children than it is for adolescents and adults," Beers added.

As for when the vaccine will be available for kids younger than 12, Beers said the AAP is urging the FDA to act as quickly as possible, adding that she’s heard estimates ranging from mid-Fall to early-Winter.