As expected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved the Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids between the ages of 12 and 15.

New Jersey health officials say the shots will be immediately available for youngsters, and they are recommending quick action be taken by moms and dads.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said parents need to understand “the Pfizer vaccine is safe. It’s important for adolescents to get vaccinated. Parents who have questions should talk to their pediatricians or their health care providers.”

She pointed out that “while many do not think this virus can be serious for children, the data shows that it can be. We have seen in rare cases children can get very ill with this virus, and among COVID-19 deaths in the state, there have been seven deaths among those under 18.”

She also said an important reason for children to get vaccinated is that 116 youngsters in New Jersey have been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome after wither contracting COVID-19 or coming in contact with someone who had it. Under this condition, different parts of the body become inflamed.

Gov. Phil Murphy said it’s important for parents to explain the benefits of getting vaccinated to their kids. He suggested parents can say “this is safe, it’s smart, it’ll keep you healthy.”

Persichilli pointed out that “adolescents want to get back to seeing their friends, they want to get back to going on trips, and the best way to do that safely is to get vaccinated.”

She noted in order to get a COVID vaccine, like other vaccines, children will need the consent of their parents.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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