Washington parents eagerly await final approval of Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Medical offices and school districts are working behind the scenes, getting prepared for the final approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.

 Trinity McDermott says this Saturday could not come soon enough.

"10:45 Saturday," McDermott said.

That’s the vaccine appointment time tentatively set with the doctor’s office for McDermott’s 12-and 15-year-old sons.

"Today I received a text message saying the CDC still has to approve of this, as soon as this, happens they would confirm our appointment for this Saturday," McDermott said.

RELATED: Washington not yet weighing school COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The moment parents heard on Monday that the FDA had expanded emergency use authorization for Pfizer to 12- to 15-year-olds, Steve Mutkoski jumped online to keep a promise to his daughter. 

Mutkoski said about a month ago he predicted to his daughter that the approval would come close to her 12th birthday and that she could get one as soon as it was available.

But the decision to vaccinate may not be as clear-cut for other families. In Washington state, there are nearly 380,000 kids who are 12 to 15 years old in the state of Washington. Many of those parents and kids on the fence will have a decision to make.

"We anticipate we will have families who will want to have their children vaccinated and many who do not, we are not in that conversation with families," Eatonville School District Superintendent Krestin Bahr said.

RELATED: University of Washington to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students before fall semester

Bahr said they have partnered with Kirk’s Pharmacy, vaccinating countless people in their community this year.

Next week the district plans on extending that service to middle schoolers, holding two clinics during school hours, pending final approval. Bahr says it’s about access and equity.

"We are a rural small school district, we are at least half an hour, 45 minutes to a metropolitan area," Bahr said.

Bahr isn’t trying to convince families one way or another about the vaccine. But McDermott says it’s important that parents share the data and research with their children.

"Any kid over 13 has a lot of autonomy when it comes to their medical choices," McDermott said.

RELATED: Free at-home summer learning program available for 700 families in Washington state

She said it was an easy decision for her family because her sons are both excited about getting the shots. McDermott said it’s understandable that other families would be more reserved if their children were opposed to the vaccine.

"They do need to be listened to, they need to be given facts and the science," McDermott said.

Mutkoski said science shows the Pfizer vaccine is both safe and effective.

 "I urge people to reconsider that this is experimental," Mutkoski said.

Mutkoski sees the expansion of vaccines as the return to normal, especially when it comes to schools this fall. 

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