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Doctors offer tips for parents on vaccinating those 16 & older

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Posted at 5:07 AM, Mar 29, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the eligibility for those 16 and up opens on April 5, we sat down with Dr. Rosemary Olivero, a pediatric infectious disease doctor, at Spectrum Health, to continue the conversation around vaccinating teenagers.

SEE MORE: Michigan: All adults eligible for vaccine April 5

Right now, just the Pfizer vaccine is available for 16 and 17 year olds that's because in early trials they were the only manufacturer to enroll minors.

In January, the company finished enrolling more than 2,200 teens ages 12-15 and while some families may still struggle with whether or not vaccinate their teens, Dr. Olivero says its important to think about community impact. as a lot of cases are now coming from the younger age groups.

"A 16-year-old may be healthy but what about all the other people in their school? what about their teachers? what about their grandparents? what about the other people that they're going to come in contact with? So I really encourage people to think about it, yes, of course, on an individual level, because that's a natural instinct that we have but to zoom out and think about the community at large, and how important it could be," she said.

"When we're thinking about the immune system of an older teenager or a young adult, it's very similar to the adults that were studied, there was a few that a handful of 16 and 17 year olds that were included in the Pfizer study, not a huge amount. but really, we'll have to see what that looks like over time," Dr. Oliverso said.

If your teenager does get the vaccine, you should likely plan on being there since they are still considered minors as with any other intervention.