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Convincing skittish parents to vaccinate their children key to curbing Covid, says Dr. Hotez

In order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 moving forward, U.S. officials will have to convince skeptical parents to vaccinate their children, Dr. Peter Hotez said Wednesday.

“There’s going to have to be a lot of public communication, and a lot of advocacy that needs to be done, because parents are going to be a bit skittish about … a brand new mRNA technology for their kids,” Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.” 

Hotez’s comments came after Pfizer announced earlier in the day that its vaccine is 100% effective in kids ages 12 to 15. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company will submit the new data to Food and Drug Administration and other regulators soon. He added Pfizer will request an amendment to its emergency use authorization to include everyone 12 and older.

“We are seeing adolescents going into pediatric intensive care units, they are getting sick, especially those with underlying risk factors,”  Hotez said. “If we’re going to actually interrupt virus transmission, we have to get to 80, 85% of the population vaccinated, now that we have the B.1.1.7 variant, which is so highly transmissible, and I think we could do that by including adolescents.”

Hotez said he thinks the U.S. could get “maybe 75% of adults vaccinated” by summer, but warned that “we’re in a race with this B.1.1.7 variant,” which results in higher mortality and hospitalization rates.

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