OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Over the weekend, Pfizer requested Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their vaccine to be administered to those 12 to 15-years-old. The vaccine is currently available for anyone over 16 years of age.
The medical community in Omaha is confident that the EUA will be approved and children in that age group could start receiving vaccines by the end of the month.
“We’re still hoping that within a few weeks that perhaps we will be able to offer the vaccine to children 12 and up," said Children's Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Alice Sato.
Pfizer's most recent data showed 100% effectiveness of the vaccine in that age group.
CHI Health Chief of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan, is pleased with those results.
"Over 3,500 children in that group, and it was 100% effective," she said.
Local parents hope the EUA is approved soon, so their children can gain some immunity to the virus as cases and hospitalizations begin to climb back up in the state.
"I've known some people whose kids had gotten sick and I don't want that for my kids. I don't want it for myself, but I especially don't want it for them," said local mom, Leah Hall.
Hall has two boys, a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old. If the EUA is approved, she says her 12-year-old, Wes Hall, would be more than willing to get the vaccine if it meant getting back some normal.
"We get the flu shot every year, we're very comfortable with that and he's always comfortable with it. So to him, it's just another vaccine that we have to have to avoid viruses," she said about her son Wes.
New variants continue spreading across Nebraska and the newest New York variant was detected in the state as of Monday.
Cases are also starting to pick back up, with the majority of the new cases in Douglas County now belonging to those 19-years-old and younger.
“We know some of the new variants, which are becoming increasingly prevalent, kids are more susceptible to them," said Douglas County Health Department spokesperson Phil Rooney.
It's this new information that's pushing parents to want to quickly vaccinate their teenagers.
"I even feel bad for our 9-year-old because he has to wait even longer," Hall said.
Children would need to get vaccinated with an adult present and with their consent. Doses for children would be smaller, but everything else about the vaccination process would be largely the same.
Governor Ricketts says if it's approved, he would support the EUA, but also says it's ultimately up to each parent to decide if they want to vaccinate their child.