Baker speaks in Norwood on Moderna & vaccinating adolescents

NORWOOD, Mass. — Children as young as 12 are now eligible to be vaccinated. Here in Massachusetts, that’s about 400,000 young people.

Gov. Charlie Baker toured Moderna in Norwood and then gave an update on the pandemic -- including how the state is approaching 75 percent of adults getting at last one shot.

“It’s going to be very hard for a lot of people to not know someone who has gotten vaccinated and feels good about it,” said Baker.

The governor also announced their “stop the spread” testing initiative which provides free testing in targeted areas will extend through September.

Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel told us they are already working on a vaccine booster for additional protection.

“Regardless which vaccine you got initially in early 2021 when it is time to get your booster you can mix the products,” said Bancel.

Moderna’s competitor Pfizer is getting its final approval to vaccinate 12-15-year-olds.

The governor told us the state has no plan to require a Covid vaccination for in-person learning but they are urging parents to talk to their physicians about it.

“What we really want to do is make sure we get as many people who are eligible to get vaccinated, vaccinated,” said Baker.

Moderna told us they are also looking for federal approval to vaccinate that same age group.

“The safety profile is like what we saw for the adults and we are working with the FDA to get the vaccine authorized as soon as we can,” said Bancel.

The governor says the state has the capacity to vaccinate this age group which is about 400,000 adolescents.

“I think you will see more participation from the primary care community and pediatric community because in many cases they have very tight relationships with a lot of the kids we are talking about,” said Baker.

The governor said they can start vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds the day after the final approval.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy issued a statement Wednesday on the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for adolescents aged 12 through 15. It read:

“It is great news that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been found to be safe and effective for adolescents aged 12 through 15 years old. While educators feel more at ease now that they are vaccinated, they still have great concern for their students under the age of 16, who have not had the ability to be vaccinated until now. Vaccinating this cohort of students will greatly reduce transmission of COVID-19 and move our schools and communities another step closer to normalcy. Any caregivers who are hesitant should talk with their children’s pediatrician to determine the best course of action.

We strongly encourage the state to make vaccinating these students as easy as possible, especially in communities of color, in rural areas, and in any communities where vaccine access is challenging. Since many parents and children will have questions, enlisting pediatricians and trusted local clinics and hospitals in the effort would be ideal.

The state must also continue to support COVID-19 testing in schools since we have not yet come close to achieving herd immunity and might not do so for a long time, if we ever do.”

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