Pfizer, which requires two doses, is the only vaccine authorized for people ages 16 and 17 in the country. Both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people ages 18 and older.
While children haven’t gotten as sick as others from the virus, getting kids vaccinated will help open up the number of things people are comfortable doing, Alter said.
“The way we’re really going to control this pandemic is to vaccinate a higher number of individuals, including children,” he said. “While it generally is a milder illness, there are very sick kids that can pop up.”
If kids are up-to-date on their immunizations, the coronavirus vaccine shouldn’t impact other vaccines, he added.
Adults who received the coronavirus vaccine may have experienced some mild side effects, including a sore arm, slight fever or headache.
“The data so far shows it’s the same thing in that 12 to 15 age group,” Alter said.
As a grandfather, he said he has “no questions” that his grandkids will get the vaccine.
“The way a parent or grandparents approaches this is that everything we do in medicine, including vaccines, is a risk versus a benefit,” Alter said. “The risk of this vaccine, of an adverse side effect, is so minimal compared to the benefit of preventing a potentially serious and/or life-threatening disease. To me the vaccine wins out always.”