The fire chief in Portsmouth says they plan to vaccinate freshmen and sophomores at Portsmouth High School later this month, pending expected approval from state officials and permission from parents.

Todd Germain said on Wednesday that their first Pfizer vaccination clinic for those students is scheduled for May 27.

Germain said the fire department will not vaccinate middle school children against COVID-19.

The Seacoast Public Health Network is planning something for children who are 12 and up.

"It will be kind of a super site to get all the kids in the area," Germain said.

Germain and his team worked with volunteers from the network to vaccinate Portsmouth High School students over the age of 16 on April 19. Those students will get their second doses on Friday.

What's happening in other Seacoast communities?

Over the bridge in Strafford County, the public health network is planning two vaccination clinics on Saturday at Oyster River High School and Rochester Middle School.

Children who are over 12 and live in Strafford County are eligible to participate with parental permission.

Dover Fire Chief Paul Haas said on Wednesday that they will not be vaccinating youth over the age of 12. He said there is too much to coordinate with the end of the school year, and there are the two sites in Durham and Rochester which will serve that need.

By Kimberley Haas

Dover was one of the first fire departments in the state to administer vaccinations to teachers. That program started on March 12.

State to offer vaccinations as well

On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Chris Sununu announced that the state will open appointments in VINI for children over the age of 12.

"We encourage all families to consider vaccinating their children, and to have those one-on-one conversations with their doctors should they have any questions," Sununu said in a statement.

Starting on Thursday, parents and guardians will be able to register and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for their children.

What do doctors recommend parents do?

Some pediatricians recommend parents consider getting their children vaccinated, including Walter Hoerman at Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester.

Hoerman works as part of Greater Seacoast Community Health and said on Tuesday that he has no hesitation about the use of Pfizer vaccines in the teen population.

Hoerman has treated patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. He said the long-term symptoms include prolonged headaches and fatigue.

Children can also temporarily lose their sense of taste and smell if they catch the virus, Hoerman said.

Some pediatricians are taking a reserved approach.

Chris Peterson of Londonderry Pediatrics is one of those doctors.

"We just don't see a lot of bad outcomes with COVID in the zero to 19 age group," Peterson said on Tuesday night.

Peterson said he is a "full-on vaccine person," and he would not stand in the way of any parent who wants their child to be vaccinated, but he is waiting for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics before he recommends Pfizer for patients.

"From a guidance standpoint, there's a lack of guidance on this particular vaccine," Peterson said.

Peterson said parents should make sure their children get their standard vaccinations this spring and summer.

Peterson said that typically includes meningitis and HPV vaccines at 12 years old, a meningitis booster at 17 years old and a tetnus booster at 18 years old.

Peterson said that in his practice, he has been lucky, and no patients have had any lasting physical effects from COVID-19.

Children between the ages of 10 and 19 have accounted for 11,960 of the 96,933 positive COVID-19 infections in the state, according to Tuesday's numbers from the NH Department of Health and Human Services.

There have been nine hospitalizations and no deaths in that age range.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @KimberleyHaas.