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FDA expected to approve Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and up

Officials say if it's approved, the hope would be to get as many kids vaccinated as possible before the start of the school year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Another big vaccination milestone is on the way. Next week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the use of the Pfizer vaccine for kids as young as 12.

NBC News Medical Contributor Dr. Kavita Patel gave 2 On Your Side some insight into the trials done on children.

"It's great news," she said. "We know thousands of children aged 12 to 15 who were in the trial had very few side effects, no serious adverse events and 100% efficacy. And we have this by press release, we are waiting for the full data but the FDA should be making a decision soon and literally within days we would have this available for ages 12 to 15."

Right now Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those 16 and up and the Erie County Department of Health has been working to get that age group vaccinated.

Last weekend, Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said more than 1,000 teens were vaccinated at special teen vaccine clinics throughout the county.

"We are going to schedule additional vaccine clinics for our 16 and 17 year olds and families and we are working with schools to go in there and vaccinate their students," Dr. Burstein said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

She also said she hopes the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 12 and up to vaccinate more people in Western New York.

If it's approved, the hope would be to get as many kids vaccinated before the start of the school year. 2 On Your Side asked Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Mark Laurrie about what this would mean for school reopening.

"I really believe we are going to open school one way or another in September in full," he said. "However, the more students that are vaccinated would be the absolute best. I will couch that though with one statement, I do believe that the ability to get the vaccine is great, but the final approval should come from a parent."

Laurrie, who has been vocal about getting kids back in the classroom, said for students who may not be vaccinated come fall, testing and other health measures would need to be in play.

"If you have the opportunity, get vaccinated, if you choose not to, there are going to be a few more hurdles and hoops to go through to get kids back," he said.