Pfizer's Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Game-Changer For Student-Athletes

KDKA's Chris Hoffman has more.

Video Transcript

- Some good news today from Pfizer. The company says its vaccine was 100% effective in a new study of 12 to 15-year-olds. No cases were found among those who received the vaccine. Currently Pfizer's vaccine is authorized for anyone over the age of 16. Chris Hoffman tells us what this could mean for student athletes.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: For student athletes, masks like this are a way of life. Then there's the constant cloud over their head of having a game or practice postponed or canceled because of an outbreak. So the hope is if this vaccine gets authorized, it could be a real game changer. Becca Ryan is a freshman at Gateway High School and a three sport athlete-- soccer, basketball, and softball. COVID has made for a challenging first year.

BECCA RYAN: The mask, sometimes gets a little bit hard to play with it.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: She feels it's hard to get into the flow of a season when at any moment COVID-19 could change everything.

BECCA RYAN: You try and get used to it, but then there's another like shut down almost, so it's hard to get in a good groove.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: With the Pfizer news, she would be able to get the vaccine if it's authorized, allowing her and her teammates to be protected.

- And the vaccination clearly is another really strong way, maybe the strongest of all, to ensure the kids' safety. It would be something that we would strongly encourage so that we could, you know, have as many athletes as possible vaccinated.

JOSEPH ARACRI: Very exciting data came out--

CHRIS HOFFMAN: Dr. Joseph Aracri says Pfizer's results weren't too surprising based on its effectiveness with adults.

JOSEPH ARACRI: If vaccine gives adults good immune response, we know that the kids are going to react pretty positively.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: As for a timeline on when we could see shots in arms, Dr. Aracri isn't too sure when but he hopes it could be before classes begin next school year.

JOSEPH ARACRI: So it may be that you start the fall off with masks, and maybe basketball next year before winter is without masks. Very difficult to predict because this is a new virus.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: With Becca playing a sport in every season, she'd like to see those shots sooner rather than later.

BECCA RYAN: It would make it more normal, you know, playing against other teams without having to worry about catching the virus.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: In speaking with the WPIAL, they can't make anything mandatory or encourage athletes to get the vaccine. That has to come from the individual schools and families. And speaking with schools, because of privacy laws they can just encourage people to get it, they themselves can't make it mandatory. Chris Hoffman, KDKA News.