Gov. wants “urgency” on vaccines for children

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday urged federal regulators to prioritize their examination of clinical trials and consider approving a COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 12 years old, who remain ineligible for any of the existing vaccine options.

“We’re hopeful that federal officials, as they continue to review the clinical results, will move with urgency to make sure that vaccines, once they are demonstrated to be safe and effective for younger kids, will be made available for younger kids so that they, too, can get the protection that’s being made available to those over the age of 12,” Baker said while visiting a back-to-school vaccine clinic in Everett.

About 65 percent of Massachusetts children between the ages 12 and 15 are vaccinated against COVID-19, as are a “fairly similar percentage” of 16- to 19-year-olds, Baker said. Both of those are among the highest rates in the country.

“For the 16- to 19-year-olds, I think we’re almost 20 points ahead of the national average, and for the 12- to 15-year-olds, we’re probably about 15 to 18 points ahead of the national average,” Baker said.

Vaccinations will play a major role in the use of masks in schools this fall: after Oct. 1, middle and high schools can lift mask mandates if they prove that 80 percent of students and staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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