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Madison area vaccinators prep for authorization of Pfizer’s shot for 12-15 year-olds

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 12:47 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - On the heels of recent news that the FDA could authorize Pfizer’s vaccine for use in teens ages 12 to 15 as early as next week, local health organizations are kicking preparations into high gear.

Fitchburg Family Pharmacy decided to go ahead and start scheduling doses for 12-15 year-olds to get the Pfizer vaccine at their clinic. None of these appointments are guaranteed until the vaccine gets the green light from the FDA.

Pharmacist and owner Dr. Thad Schumacher said with no shortage of doses in stock and many parents getting anxious to get their child a vaccine, he felt opening scheduling early was the right move.

“There’s a momentum from the public to want to have a scheduled appointment or have you know some sense that they’re going to get the vaccine and we’re just trying to alleviate that as much as we can, because we know that’s coming,” said Schumacher.

The pharmacy has already scheduled vaccination clinics for schools in Fitchburg and Verona, as well as a church in Middleton, for this age group.

“We reached out to Verona High School and Eagle Elementary School. Both of those places are places that we went to vaccinate teachers and so we reached back out to those superintendents and asked them if they’d be willing to host vaccination clinics for the 12-15 year-olds. We asked if they could open it up to anybody in the community, not just the students from their schools, and they both agreed to do that,” told Schumacher.

The clinic at Verona High School is scheduled for May 17th and Eagle Elementary’s is scheduled for May 22nd.

NBC15 also spoke with officials at Public Health Madison Dane County, SSM Health, UW Health and UnityPoint Meriter. All health organizations are preparing for the FDA’s approval as well, but unlike Fitchburg Family Pharmacy, are not allowing early scheduling at this time.

Recent census data shows there are around 25,000 teens between 12 and 15 years old in Dane County.

UW Health officials believe it would only take a couple of weeks to get the majority of them their first doses, as long as parents are on board.

“Obviously these are minors, so we do need a parent to be present or immediately available by phone such that we can get that consent dealt with and addressed. So if a grandparent for example is bringing a child in we’re going to need to have the parent be available or have the authorization in place,” said Dr. Matt Anderson, UW Health’s Senior Medical Director of Primary Care.

Once authorization is granted, UW Health says appointments for 12-15 year-olds will open up on their website very quickly.

“Once we get the go-ahead from the federal and state levels we’ll be able to just plug right into that same process that parents might have used, adults may have used, by going onto the website or using the phone number that’s listed there in order to schedule,” explained Dr. Anderson.

SSM Health also expects to readily offer appointments once that time comes.

“The timing couldn’t be better in my opinion, because we vaccinated almost everyone in the other age groups. We have the vaccines and we have the capacity. This week our clinics continue to be busy, but as of next week and beyond, most appointments are still open and available,” said Mo Kharbat, SSM Health’s Regional VP of Pharmacy Services.

Meanwhile, SSM Health is reaching out to multiple area school districts to offer vaccination opportunities for students, like they did for teachers and staff.

“As you know SSM worked with several school districts in our community and vaccinated their employees. We are reaching out to the same school districts now to work with them on perhaps planning a mobile vaccine event at the schools for students this time, 12 and up,” told Dr. Kharbat.

Those districts include Waunakee, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Dells, Baraboo, Lodi, Whitewater and Madison. Dr. Kharbat also says he anticipates Moderna to apply for FDA authorization in the next few weeks to allow use of its vaccine in 12 to 17 year-olds.

Both Moderna and Pfizer are currently studying their vaccines in children ages six-months and up.

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