From an interview with
Dr. Brittany Benjamin
McLeod Pediatric Associates of Florence
“The Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for everyone 12 and older,” says Dr. Benjamin. “Originally, it was only for individuals age 16 and older, but now the recommendation has been dropped to include the 12-to-15-year age range. Moderna is still for those 18 years of age or older, as is Johnson and Johnson. So, Pfizer is the only one for the adolescent population.” [NOTE: On May 25, 2021, Moderna said it had successfully tested their vaccine on 12- to 17-year-olds. While the company was seeking FDA approval, it had not been granted it at that point.]
“We currently don’t have the vaccine available at our office, because it has been allocated by the state to specific sites, such as hospital-run clinics and pharmacies. So, on the South Carolina DHEC website, you can search by your zip code, and it brings up a full list of options. If you live near Florence, the vaccine is available at the McLeod Support Services Center (2210 Enterprise Drive). Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“12- to 15-year-olds who have been vaccinated, have not experienced any severe symptoms. The most common symptoms are redness and swelling where the injection was given and body aches and chills for a couple of days. It’s 100% effective in 12- to 15-year-olds. We typically say that you are fully protected two weeks out from your second dose.
“Any adolescent 12 years of age and older should get the vaccine, but especially youth who have any sort of medical complexity. People with a history of diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or even obesity are more likely to get sick and require hospitalization if they are not vaccinated and contract COVID-19.
“Those individuals who are fully vaccinated will not have to wear a mask or social distance when out in public according to recent updates from the CDC May 2021. Obviously, the schools are going to have their own rules, as will hospitals and doctor’s offices. I think that being fully vaccinated is going to be important going back to school in the fall. If you are fully vaccinated and exposed to someone with COVID-19, you no longer have to get tested and no longer have to quarantine, as long as you do not show any symptoms which will decrease the number of school and work days missed for children and their parents.”
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