Parents Fake Kids' Age for COVID-19 Vaccine Under 12 Years Old, Doctors Say It's Risky

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The Delta variant surge among the unvaccinated has some parents anxious that they have resorted to faking their kids' age to get COVID-19 vaccine under 12 years old, reports stated.

A mom in Phoenix tried to slip her 10-year-old daughter into their local pharmacy's vaccination rollout to get a Pfizer vaccine despite its approval only for children 12 years and older. The mother told USA Today that her daughter is immunocompromised and believes that having her vaccinated will keep her safe. She also had her 14-year-old daughter get the jab.

"After my daughters, my concern is me," the mom said. "If they get it and pass it on and I'm hospitalized or dead, my kids are in trouble."

The mother is a single parent who works as a financial advisor. She said that she's an ethical person, but her daughter's lack of mask mandate has made her consider breaking the rules.

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According to Dr. Sean O'Leary of the Children's Hospital in Colorado, parents' anxiety is understandable considering the breakthrough cases and the Delta variant surge. However, going outside the line by faking their kids' age is not a justifiable act.

Safety for the Patients

O'Leary, also part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), said that vaccine safety is the number one consideration for any patient. For now, experts like him believe that the risks will outweigh the benefits if the COVID-19 vaccine under 12 years old is administered because it has yet to receive a green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, the AAP has recently written to acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock to emphasize the urgency of authorizing COVID-19 vaccine under 12 years old. The AAP said that the FDA must work aggressively for the approval as the Delta variant has "created a new and pressing risk" for the unvaccinated younger population.

Some pediatricians said that they had parents asking for vaccines. However, without approval, they had to turn down the requests. According to the experts, more studies are needed for children under 12 as they require "unique dose" and "unique timing" in between shots.

The clinical trials currently undertaken by Pfizer and Moderna will provide the data and recommendation, but those have not yet been released to the public. Pfizer, however, expects to have its data ready for the FDA by September, while Modern expects a fall or early winter release.

Per FDA standards, the pharmaceutical companies will also have to provide follow-up data covering four to six months to ascertain the vaccine's safety. In clinical trials for adults, the FDA requested a two-month follow-up data as adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to appear within a month or two after the vaccination. However, in children's cases, the FDA required a longer timeline mainly to appease the parents' anxieties.

Parents Prefer Mask Mandates

A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 58 percent of parents whose kids are between 12 to 17 years old said they don't believe schools should have a vaccine mandate. Instead, 62 percent said that schools must require everyone to wear a mask.

Of this survey, 41 percent of the parents of kids above 12 years old said that their children had been vaccinated. However, 88 percent of the parents admitted that they are concerned about the long-term effects of the vaccination, while 79 percent said that they are worried about the more severe side effects of the vaccine on their kids. Meanwhile, 12 percent of the parents said that their children openly wanted the jab.

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