By Andrea Flores

DENVER (CBS4) – Children ages 12 to 15 could soon be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine as early as next week if it’s approved by the FDA. The New York Times first reported the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for adolescents as soon as next week. The vaccine is already being given to older teenagers in Colorado.

“We are looking forward to being able to offer the COVID vaccine for that age group,” said Dr. Reginald Washington, Chief Medical Officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. “The incidents of COVID have not decreased to a level that we’re very comfortable with, and also we need to achieve a lot more vaccinations before we reach herd immunity. To reach herd immunity, we need a certain number of the general population, including this age group, to be vaccinated.”

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Washington says the data is promising.

“The antibody response is actually higher than the antibody response we’ve observed in adults, and young adults, and also there were no positive cases in the study group with the data that I’ve been able to obtain,” Washington told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “It appears to be very effective, and on the other hand, it appears to be very safe. There were no significant side effects in the group that received the vaccines.”

Parental permission is required for anyone under 18. Washington says parents will play a crucial role in making sure this age group gets the vaccine.

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“The more kids are vaccinated, the safer going back to school and going back to normal school activities will be,” said Washington. “Athletics, dances and other gatherings are going to be safer if the majority of kids are vaccinated.”

As case rates in teens continue to rise, health officials want to make sure kids stay healthy.

“Vaccines are not very effective if they’re in the bottle,” Washington said. “They have to be in arms to be effective.”

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Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children already had a vaccination clinic planned for kids 16 and up May 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15 before then, Rocky Mountain says it will open the clinic up for kids 12 and up. The registration link will be added to their website over the coming days.

Andrea Flores