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Key to herd immunity lies in vaccination of our kids

Pfizer vaccine expected to be approved for kids 12 to 15 years old

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One of the largest populations that can help not only the U.S. but West Michigan reach herd immunity is 12 to 15 year olds. 

The FDA is currently considering the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use for that age group and is expected to give it's approval next week. 

The hope is that we may now have a chance at reaching herd immunity which Dr. Liam Sullivan, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Spectrum Health says that age group is key to reaching herd immunity, "There's no way we're going to achieve herd immunity without a higher level of vaccination. If we only get 50% of the country vaccinated whether they are adults or children then we're never going to get herd immunity we're going to continue to have outbreaks of this disease for years to come. "

At a time when so many teens are missing out on high school traditions Dr. Rosemary Olivero, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist with Spectrum Health says vaccination is the best way to get back to a somewhat normal way of living, "If you can get 75% of your senior class vaccinated could you have prom? Could your sports team operate as normal? Could we have a graduation ceremony?  Those things are really important to think about that we have a lot of longing for."

Because 12-15 year olds make up such a large part of our population there's an effort being made in West Michigan to help pediatric offices administer the Pfizer vaccine. 

The Ottawa County Heath Department is taking it one step further by working on a pilot program that would be available at pediatric offices when the vaccine in is approved for emergency use in hopes of encouraging more parents to get their child vaccinated

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