A Rochester pediatrician says now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved emergency use of Pfizer vaccines for children between the ages of 12 and 15, parents should consider signing their kids up.

"I would have no hesitancy with this vaccine," Walter Hoerman said. "It's an amazing technology people have been hoping for for 30 years... It's the vaccine of the future."

Hoerman, who works as part of Greater Seacoast Community Health, has seen patients who have been diagnosed with COVID, and said there are lasting effects on some youth. The symptoms that concern him the most include prolonged headaches and fatigue.

Children can also temporarily lose their sense of taste and smell if they catch COVID-19, Hoerman said.

FDA officials held a virtual press conference on Monday. Peter Marks, director at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, explained during a question and answer session why children may not be able to get vaccinated where their parents got their shots.

"Some states may have locations, that based on what they are licensed to be able to do, they'll be able to administer all the way down. Other places, they may have to be different sites. It may be that the local pharmacy will not be able to administer because they may not be able to give a vaccine to someone younger than 16 or 17 years of age," Marks said.

View the press conference here:

Beth Daly, chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at the NH Department of Health and Human Services, said during last week's press conference in Concord that they were anxiously awaiting the outcome of the FDA's review of the Pfizer vaccine for use in 12 to 15 year olds.

"Once that approval is provided, we're prepared to begin vaccinating this age group and we will make further announcements regarding registering for that vaccination," Daly said.

Gov. Chris Sununu was asked what his hopes and concerns were going into the summer, and what keeps him up at night.

"So, if anything, I don't want to say keeps me up at night, but the things that really occupy my time would be just making sure we get those 12- to 15-year-olds, we keep working with schools. Is it going to be made available for the under 12-year-olds down the road? What would that look like?" Sununu asked as part of his answer.

Sununu said his team is focused on "transitioning back to normal," and right now the state is in the healthcare business when it comes to vaccinations so doctors are not overwhelmed.

The Strafford County Public Health Network is doing a drive-thru vaccination for children over the age of 12 on Saturday at Oyster River High School and Rochester Middle School.

 

As of Tuesday, 11,940 people between the ages of 10 and 19 had been infected with COVID-19 in the Granite State.

There have been nine hospitalizations and zero deaths in that age range.

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