The director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “encouraging children to ask for the vaccine” after regulators on Monday expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12.
Watch the hearing in the video player above.
“I would encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
“I have a 16 year old myself and I can tell you he wanted to get the vaccine. He wants his life back. These kids want to go back to school. They want to go back to the things they love.”
The Food and Drug Administration declared that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15.
The agency noted there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 16 among kids given dummy shots.
More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.
The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose.
Shots could begin as soon as Thursday, after a federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine in 12 to 15-year-olds.
An announcement is expected Wednesday.
Most COVID-19 vaccines worldwide have been authorized for adults.
Pfizer’s vaccine is being used in multiple countries for teens as young as 16, and Canada recently became the first to expand use to 12 and up.