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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Local health officials say vaccinating teens next step in ending COVID-19 pandemic

The FDA on Monday expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to kids 12 to 15 and local health officials say they will work to provide the shot.

BELL COUNTY, Texas — Late Monday, the Food and Drug Administration has said the Pfizer vaccine is safe and will be offered to children between 12 and 15 years old.

"The vaccine is our number one tool to stopping the COVID virus," said Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan Health District. "This pandemic has been very disruptive for that age group, that 12 to 15, our teenagers, our young people."

While the health district only has the Moderna vaccine, they do plan to work with the community if people have questions about the Pfizer shot. In the meantime, Craine said, the best thing you can do is talk to your child's pediatrician about the potential risks and benefits especially when they're in school.

RELATED: FDA expands Pfizer COVID vaccine authorization to ages 12-15

"There's really no difference in the dosage or the way that it's administered. It's the same style as you would see for a 16-year-old," she said. "Particularly with children, start with a pediatrician, start there and talk with them. Start with them and ask them if they will be available and talk about your questions and concerns."

The Bell County Health District does administer the Pfizer vaccine but wanted to hold off on giving us an interview today, instead Dr. Amanda Chadwell said in a statement:

"The Bell County Health District is waiting to receive official confirmation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which should be meeting tomorrow."

RELATED: Yes, kids should get the COVID-19 vaccine

As for side effects, Craine said not to expect anything out of the ordinary, including a sore arm at the injection site and being tired.

"Our kids have been vaccinated and these are typical side effects. The next time you get your kids vaccinated for the back-to-school shots, they have experienced these side effects before and we do forget about that," she said.

Craine acknowledged people are having a hard time with how fast the vaccine was produced but says the SARS I Virus is what began the research over a decade ago.

"COVID-19 is in that SARS category, so they have been working on pharmaceuticals, this research, looking at this virus for over 10 years," Craine said.

RELATED: When will a COVID vaccine be available for children under 12?