BOSTON (CBS) - With everyone in the United States, age 16 and above, eligible for a vaccine, parents are beginning to think about whether their children should get it, while medical experts say vaccinating kids is essential to reaching some level of herd immunity.
"It's certainly going to require immunizing more people than just the adult population. And for that reason, taking care of the adolescents and the school age kids becomes a very important goal because collectively, they represent about a quarter of the population," said Dr. Rick Malley, an infectious disease physician at Boston Children's Hospital.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children. Earlier this month, Pfizer asked the FDA for emergency approval of its vaccine in children ages 12 to 15.
All children should be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by 2022, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN's Face the Nation over the weekend.
"I think by the time we get to the first quarter of 2022 we'll be able to vaccinate children of virtually any age," Fauci said.
It is uncertain how many adults in the U.S. will ultimately get a vaccine meaning inoculating children will get the country closer to herd immunity. But experts say vaccines will also protect children from serious disease.
"We've seen a lot of this post COVID inflammatory complication called MISC which luckily has very low mortality but it can be quite severe and does require hospitalization," said UMASS Memorial infectious disease physician Dr. Christina Hermos.
While many doctors are in favor of vaccinating children against the coronavirus, not all parents are on board.
"It was just invented yesterday so we would very much like to see the science behind it and see what the results are before we start vaccinating our kids," said Aaron Friar, a father of five from Brighton.
Yuval Feinstein said he would seek a vaccine for all three of his children.
"It's better for society. It's how we express solidarity," Feinstein said.
Dr. Paul Biddinger, the Chair of Massachusetts Vaccine Advisory Group told WBZ that existing vaccine sites will likely be used to vaccinate children ages 12 to 15 but pediatricians would need to become more involved for younger children.
To find out more about COVID vaccinations in Massachusetts and where you can get one visit mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
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