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Kids, vaccines and full FDA approval - What you need to know

Pfizer is asking the FDA for authorization to use their vaccine in kids 12-15 while also looking for full approval for people 16 and older.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Right now COVID-19 vaccines are only authorized for people older than 16 but the FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer's shot for 12 to 15 year olds by early next week. 

Not all parents are on board - The Kaiser Family Foundations COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor published data  that said less than a third of parents will get their child vaccinated as soon as it's given the green light. Dr. Ashley Perrott from Novant Health understands those concerns but said it's important to do your own research.

"I think we will initially see a lot of early adapters," Dr. Perrott said. "I am very excited that my own 12 and 14 year old will be able to hopefully get the vaccine next week. Then I think we will see some parents who have received the vaccine themselves be concerned about their children getting the vaccine. I would encourage them to talk to doctors about our evidence, about safety and efficacy in this age group so we can allay concerns about the vaccine."

At the same time - Pfizer and Moderna are asking the FDA for full approval of it's vaccines. Right now they have what's called an emergency use authorization. Dr. Perrott is hopeful that this additional stamp of approval will encourage others.

"I think anybody who says, 'Oh it's just an emergency approval,' still equates to it not being completely ready yet," Dr. Perrott said. "So I think it's step in the right direction to make sure we can overcome that hurdle with any patient who is still worried."

To get authorization, drug makers needed to give the FDA two months of data. For full approval it's six months worth. 

So what will change if the FDA approves a vaccine? A few things. They'll be able to market their shot and it makes vaccine mandates a little more feasible. But it will take a month or two for the FDA to get through all of the data and make a decision.