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Young people can get the COVID-19 vaccine. This could be a major moment for the pandemic

The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine

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A man walks into the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy for a COVID-19 vaccine.

A man walks into the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy for a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, May 3, 2021. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

The coronavirus pandemic may reach another turning point in the next few weeks because teens and adolescents will have a chance to be vaccinated.

Can kids be vaccinated?

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old.

  • The decision do so “allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the actingFDA commissioner, in a statement. “Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”

Why this matters for the pandemic

CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner told CNN the decision to allow the Pfizer vaccine for children can be a major turning point for the pandemic.

  • “This is big news,” he told CNN. ”The young in this country are now the reservoir of the virus, so if we are going to eradicate this virus, we have to vaccinate the young.”

Young people represent a chunk of the U.S. population. More vaccinations for those children means that there will be an increased level of immunity throughout the country. Right now, 58.2% of the U.S. population 18 years old and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • For the entire country’s population, that number is at about 46%. Adding young people into that mix is expected to raise that number.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, has pushed for the country to reach around 70% immunity to stay safe from the coronavirus, according to CNN.