Middle and high schoolers may soon be able to get the Pfizer vaccine.
The company is asking the FDA for emergency use in children ages 12 to 15. It is currently available for people age 16 and up.
"This is great news and it can't come soon enough," said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, an expert in infectious disease with St. Luke's.
Jahre says if the Pfizer shot is approved for that age group it'll become an important tool for fighting the disease, considering a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases, especially in Pennsylvania.
"Pfizer recently did a study in the 12 to 15 age group and it found it was 100% protective and it is very safe. The side effects are minor and easily controllable and importantly, very importantly is that this vaccine is very effective against this UK variant," Jahre said.
The UK variant is what Jahre and other medical experts say is a major contributor to the increase in cases.
"First of all it is more than 50% more infectious. Secondly, it actually has the capacity to create more severe disease by 50% and thirdly, it also infects a younger population more than the former type did," Jahre said.
Jahre says the vaccine will not only help protect that age group, but everyone they come into contact with. He says teenagers could start receiving the shot as early as two weeks after the FDA approves it.
"What's most important is that we will have enough to give to that age group before school starts again in the fall," Jahre said.
Jahre says there are active case studies going on right now to approve the vaccine in children as young as 6 months.