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Health experts say child vaccinations needed to reach herd immunity

Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 11:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Although children are not currently eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19, Pfizer is requesting emergency vaccine approval for children 12 though 15 years old.

Pfizer says the vaccine is 100 percent effective and safe for children in this age range.

State health officials say children 16 and under make up 20 percent of the population Dr. Suzanne Judd with UAB School of Public Health says to reach herd immunity, at least 70 percent of the entire population needs to be vaccinated.

Judd predicts if vaccinations continue at the current rate, there could be herd immunity by September. She says it will take a majority of children ages 12 to 15 being vaccinated to get there.

“We actually really need to get the population as young as 12 at least 70 percent vaccinated. That’s what gets us to herd immunity and that piece will be critical. Now, that is out of our hands. That is in the FDA’S hands, but we really need this vaccine to be taken up by at least 70 percent of the population that is 12 and older,” explained Judd.

Health officials say it’s not clear how long the FDA will take to review Pfizer’s request, so it’s important to vaccinate as many 16 and 17-year-olds as possible.

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