MILWAUKEE — Pfizer executives say their vaccine is expected to be authorized for kids ages 12 to 15 by early next week. But the Food and Drug Administration is not confirming if, or exactly when, that authorization will happen.
Sage Specialty Pharmacy started a list last Friday night for families to sign-up their 12 to 15-year-old’s for the Pfizer vaccine.
“By first thing Monday morning, we had 125 people signed up already,” said Jon Phillips, the owner of Sage Specialty Pharmacy.
Less than a week later, that list has grown to at least 375 kids.
Sage Specialty Pharmacy has made Wednesday, May 12 the first day kids can get the shot. But that’s tentative, and may have to be re-arranged depending on when the FDA actually grants emergency use authorization for 12 to 15-year-olds.
“There’s been a lot of people - moms and dads - that are anxious to get their kids vaccinated,” said Phillips. “I got on the phone with DHS to ask for a larger vaccine allotment for next week and they’ve been great to work with.”
Similarly, Hayat Pharmacy confirms it’s starting to sign 12 to 15-year-olds up for next Thursday and Friday, May 13 and 14.
Less than 24 hours after making the sign-up sheet available online, Hayat has more than 100 kids signed up for those two days.
TMJ4 called big-name, national pharmacies too, and found they’re operating differently. All Walgreens locations in our area say they won’t schedule 12 to 15-year-olds until FDA authorization is official. Some local pharmacies and pediatrician offices are following suit.
“We’re waiting because we don’t know,” said Kyle Beyer, the owner of North Shore Pharmacy. “We don’t want to give anybody a false sense of hope. So, we’re just going to hold off until we get the thumbs up. We’ve already gotten plenty of phone calls both from school districts and parents that are excited to get this started.”
The good news, according to many pharmacists, is that we’re in a much better position in terms of vaccine supply.
“There’s not going to be the battle you had months ago to try and find a site,” said Beyer.
Children’s Wisconsin also has a waitlist for children and their families who want to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available. Leaders there say as soon as the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds, they will start sending vaccines to their clinics and pediatricians throughout the state.
Overall, opinions are still mixed. In a recent survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 30 percent of parents who have children ages 12 to 15 say they will get their child vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available. Twenty-five percent say they will wait a while to see if the vaccine is working. Another 25 percent say they will definitely not get their child vaccinated, while 18 percent of parents plan to get their child vaccinated only if their school requires it.
Health experts say in order to get to herd immunity as soon as possible, 70 to 80 percent of our population must get vaccinated. In order to reach those numbers, kids must be included in vaccinations.