Doctors welcome COVID-19 vaccine for teens, some parents still on the fence

Gov. Murphy says vaccinating kids is critical step in the state’s reopening plan

Public health leaders across the state are preparing to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds against COVID-19, armed with the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents.

The FDA’s green light is not the final hurdle; a special committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to meet Wednesday to review the data and make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in the age group. If the committee gives its endorsement, as expected, those teens could start to get shots as early as Thursday in New Jersey.

“I’m thrilled. I think it’s a great step in getting us back to kind of some sort of normalcy,” said Dr. Katharine Clouser, a pediatric hospitalist at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The vaccine was found to be safe and 100% effective at preventing illness in this younger age group, but some parents remain hesitant. “It’s one thing for a middle-aged man to get vaccinated, and maybe five, ten, fifteen years from now, something happens as a result of the vaccination. I think I’d want a little more proof of concept before we get our children vaccinated,” said Josh Lluch.

WATCH: Rutgers to start clinical trial of Pfizer vaccine in kids 12 and under

MORE: NJ now shows local vaccination rates