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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pharmaceutical company Pfizer says it will seek emergency approval for its COVID-19 vaccine to be used for 12- to 15-year-old children.

Their study involving more than 2,200 kids indicates the vaccine is safe for this age group, the company said Wednesday. None of the kids who got the vaccine during the study developed COVID-19, and they didn’t experience any side effects outside of the normal flu-like symptoms seen in older people. 

Now it will be up to the FDA to review the data and decide if it will grant emergency use. 

Right now, Pfizer is the only one of the three vaccines currently approved for some pediatric patients. People 16 and older can get the Pfizer shots, but you have to be 18 or older to get Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

Families have had a hard time pinpointing which clinics are offering this specific shot. Now, Children’s Mercy is stepping in to help.

Children’s Mercy will host three clinics starting April 1. The first one will target Missouri kids in high-risk ethnic populations or with qualifying medical conditions.   

Starting next week, all age-eligible youth in Kansas and Missouri will be eligible to sign up.

It’s good news to the Millers. COVID-19 is a serious threat for this Louisburg family.

“This is not just another flu for us. We have to be careful,” parent Crystal Miller said.

Miller’s 17-year-old daughter is a Type 1 diabetic, making her higher risk for severe illness from coronavirus. And as doctors learned more about the illness, it brought new fears for her youngest, a nine year old with cerebral palsy. 

“They’re like, well it has a neurological impact and really need to consider your options,” Miller said.

After searching for available Pfizer vaccines for her teens without luck, she’s thrilled her two oldest daughters will be getting vaccinated this week, thanks in part to Children’s Mercy.

“As we’re able to give more and more vaccine, we’re going to be getting kids back to the activities they want to get back to,” said Dr. Angela Myers, infectious disease division director at Children’s Mercy. “We want to get back to prom. We want to get back to graduation. We want all kids in school, and the more we can do, the more vaccine we can provide, the better able we are to do all those things.”

At least 400 Pfizer doses are ready for youth ages 16 to 21 at each of three vaccine clinics through Children’s Mercy in April. 

“This extra layer of protection is going to be helpful for all our patients and all their families and beyond,” said Dr. Ryan McDonough, Children’s Mercy COVID-19 vaccine clinics physician lead.

While kids are less likely to get severe illness from COVID-19, older kids and teens are just as likely to spread coronavirus as adults. Doctors are encouraging parents to get this important protection for their children to help stop COVID-19’s spread. 

“It’s really important we target all the ages as we’re able to based on the data so we can make our society more safe to open up and to all come together again,” Myers said. 

If you’d like to get your 16-to-21 year olds signed up for the vaccine at CMH, you can do so through Children’s Mercy’s patient portal online or you can make an appointment by calling 816-234-3700.

The hospital’s hoping to schedule even more clinics after the first three in April, based on demand.