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Kentucky, Indiana health officials prepare for potential FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15 year-olds

While 16 to 18 year-olds can already access the vaccine, officials expanding the age eligibility will give parents more confidence kids can do other activities safe.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Health officials around Louisville say it's "exciting" to hear the FDA could approve the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year-olds as early as the end of this week or beginning of next week. It would be the first vaccine eligible for that age group.

"So many families are really ready for this," Dr. Kristina Bryant, a pediatric infectious disease expert with Norton Children's said. "When you think about children comprising 22-23% of the population, many experts have said it's going to be hard to get to herd immunity without including kids."

While 16 to 18 year-olds can already access the vaccine, Dr. Bryant said expanding the age eligibility will give parents more confidence kids can safely do routine activities like sports.

"With quarantines at school, to have an uninterrupted end of the year and a nice smooth start to fall semester, I think it's important," Clark Co. Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said.

Dr. Yazel said the Clark Co. Health Department has expected and been already planning for this authorization. He said they'll plan to partner with schools, like they currently are, to make the vaccine accessible for the new age group.

"I do think It'll be relatively easy to integrate their population. There may be some new schools interested now that we're down to 12 to 15," Dr. Yazel said.

With summer activities like camps, or family vacations or events coming up, Dr. Yazel said it'll be even more important families explore the option of vaccinating their kids.

"More people that are vaccinated the safer those events will be both as a community and as an individual," he said.

Louisville Metro Public Health Director Dr. Sarah Moyer said Tuesday the vaccine likely wont be given out at pediatricians' offices because of the requirements like cold storage and the vaccines' allotment of over 1,000 per shipment.

"It's harder for it to be in pediatricians offices because of those requirements, but all of our healthcare providers, our UofL mass site, and almost all of the vaccine Norton is giving out is Pfizer," she said.

JCPS Spokesperson Renee Murphy also said the district is in the early stages of discussing how they may get involved in efforts to vaccinate 12 to 15 year-olds. 

 Contact reporter Tyler Emery at temery@WHAS11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@TylerWHAS11) and Facebook. 

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