Pfizer opening up to ages 12-15; updates on return to normalcy, how safe vaccinated individuals feel

Sophomore+Richard+McDaniel+displays+his+COVID+vaccination+card.+He+was+eligible+for+the+vaccine+when+it+was+granted+an+EUA+from+the+FDA+to+those+aged+12-15.

Photo courtesy Richard McDaniel

Sophomore Richard McDaniel displays his COVID vaccination card. He was eligible for the vaccine when it was granted an EUA from the FDA to those aged 12-15.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was given the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for usage in teens aged 12-15. The two-dose shot was granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on May 10. With a second option that could be coming soon, it seems that we are reaching the homestretch on our long-awaited return to normalcy.

I’m splendid and overcome with elation at the overwhelmingly positive possibility that more vaccines can be approved for teenagers.”

— Richard McDaniel

Moderna could soon be a second option for those 12 and up. While they were not yet granted an EUA, the company announced on May 25 that their vaccine is safe and highly effective in children 12-17. Moderna’s vaccine is also a two-dose regimen, given four weeks apart instead of three. Sophomore Richard McDaniel, who has received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, is excited about the Moderna vaccine’s expanding eligibility. “I’m splendid and overcome with elation at the overwhelmingly positive possibility that more vaccines can be approved for teenagers,” McDaniel said. 

Sophomore Bailey Golub also shares the same enthusiasm for Moderna’s promising results. “I am really excited that there is a possibility that the age limit for the Moderna COVID vaccine could be lowered,” Golub said. 

Junior Samir Mitri is also excited. “I think lowering the age would be a beneficial thing as by now most adults have been vaccinated and I know many students like myself want to go back to in person school and being vaccinated will allow that to happen,” Mitri said.

Some two weeks after Larry Hogan eased statewide COVID restrictions on May 15, Montgomery County followed suit with most of their COVID restrictions lifted effective May 28. Masks will no longer be required for those who are fully vaccinated, matching Maryland’s COVID guidelines. Golub is still a little skeptical about restrictions being lifted so soon. “I am not sure how I feel about it because yes I do want to go back to a pre-COVID normal world but I’m not sure if this is the right time. I’m afraid not enough of the population is vaccinated,” Golub said, adding, “Once the mandates are lifted I think I will continue to wear my mask for a while in busy public settings but maybe not in less busy settings.”

McDaniel shares some of that skepticism but feels safer knowing that he is protected with the vaccine. “I feel great but at the same time skeptical about the mandates in Maryland and Montgomery County being lifted as it is a sign of progression but it may be too early,” McDaniel said. “I would not continue wearing my mask once the mandates are lifted.”

Mitri has felt safe enough after his vaccine. “I’ve gone back to school in person and I’ve gone to the movies eating with friends,” Mitri said. However, he is also worried that lifted restrictions are premature. “I think restrictions being lifted is a good thing but we should still proceed with caution and maintain social distancing for now. I’ll keep my mask on for now as it has become a habit, but things can change,” Mitri said.