MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Right now, more than 8.1 million Floridians are fully vaccinated. That’s 37.8% of the state. And now Florida could soon have another vaccine for kids and teens in the arsenal against the virus.
“As long as there are unvaccinated people, we’re still at risk to keep this pandemic alive and well,” Dr. Ronald Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.READ MORE: Condo Collapse: Crews Worked Through The Night To Find Survivors
In the United States, roughly 25 million children ages 12 to 17 are largely unvaccinated against COVID.
Dr. Ford says that needs to change.
“There should be a focus on adolescents. They’re an important part of spreading this virus,” he said.
The states are starting to see some movement.
Since Pfizer’s vaccine was federally approved, 4 million kids between 12 to 17 have been vaccinated.
And now Moderna completed its clinical trials on that age group with great results.
More than 3,700 children were a part of the trial. It was 100% effective in the group receiving the vaccines. There were only four COVID cases in the placebo group.
The company will ask regulators to authorize emergency use for adolescents in June.READ MORE: President Biden Declares State Of Emergency In Florida After Surfside Condo Collapse
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get adolescent vaccines. I mean high school students vaccinated before they enter the fall term, which is actually very good news,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The Broward School District apparently thinks so.
At Monarch High School, students filled the auditorium to get the Pfizer vaccine.
Meanwhile, the U.S. hit a milestone with half of all American adults now fully vaccinated.
If you’re not one of them, the white house is offering an incentive, allowing states to use federal funds to pay people to get the shot.
“This includes lottery programs for vaccinated individuals, cash or in-kind transfers or other monetary incentives for individuals to get vaccinated,” said Andy Slavitt, White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response.
Even still, there’s a large number of parents concerned about long-term side effects in children who get vaccinated. Some have suggested fertility issues as kids get older.
Dr. Ford said there’s little to be concerned about Pfizer or Moderna. He’s studied the results.
“Both of these vaccines are very, very safe. We don’t have long-term data. We don’t have long-term data for anyone at this point. But there’s nothing at this to point that suggests there is a significant risk for vaccinating adolescents,” Ford said.MORE NEWS: Condo Collapse: Despite Broken Pelvis After 4-Story Fall, Mom Pulls Daughter Out Of Rubble
Dr. Ford and other pediatricians have the hard conversation with patients’ parents. Most encourage parents to kids vaccinated. There’s little to fear.