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Statement by AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP: “The authorization today by the Food & Drug Administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 and older is a critically important step in bringing life-saving vaccines to children and adolescents. Our youngest generations have shouldered heavy burdens over the past year, and the vaccine is a hopeful sign that they will be able to begin to experience all the activities that are so important for their health and development.

“We look forward to the discussion by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC, which will make recommendations about the use of this vaccine in adolescents. Meanwhile, pediatricians stand ready to assist in efforts to administer this and other COVID-19 vaccines.

“It’s essential for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to data compiled by the AAP and Children’s Hospital Association, more than 3.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States since the start of the pandemic. While fewer children than adults have suffered the most severe disease, this is not a benign disease in children. Thousands of children have been hospitalized, and hundreds have died. We will soon have a very safe, highly effective vaccine that can prevent so much suffering. I encourage parents to talk with their pediatrician about how to get the vaccine for their adolescents as soon as they are eligible.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.