The Pfizer COVID 19 vaccine now has full approval, but some fear this could open the door for off-label use.

"Once the FDA gives full approval for a drug, any licensed practicing physician in the laws of the state where they are licensed, they are allowed to prescribe it for both the indications the FDA has approved as well as other indications that are within acceptable medical practice," said Dr. William Keough, co-chair for advocacy for the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is trying to get out ahead of any off-label use in children under age 12. In a statement, the organization says they strongly discourage the practice.  

"What the academy is concerned about is pressure from parents and families who are concerned about the health and safety during this delta surge," Keough said.

Keough says it might be tempting to start vaccinating children who are just months away from their 12th birthday, but is urging people to wait.  The FDA also speaking out, saying vaccinating children under 12 is not safe at this point.

"We do not have data on the proper dose nor do we have full data on the safety in children younger," said acting FDA chief Janet Woodcock.

Keough says clinical trials are still on-going but is hopeful Pfizer could send data on the vaccine's safety and efficacy in younger children as soon as late September.  In the meantime, he says there are a number of things we can do to keep young kids safer.

"If you want to protect children in this age group, masking at school and everyone around them, adults and teenagers around them, get that vaccine," Keough said. 

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