MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans as young as 12 years old can now roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light to using Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine in children 12 to 15 years old. Pfizer’s vaccine was previously approved for those ages 16 and up.
“CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement, calling the move “another important step to getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and closer to normalcy.”
The FDA’s review of Pfizer’s data confirmed the company’s clinical trial found the shots were safe and effective in adolescents, and that the side effects were “consistent” with older age groups. In the study, 97.9% of adolescents were found to have produced enough antibodies in the month after their second dose.
To help reach families who want the shots, the Biden administration said the CDC is working with state officials to enroll more pediatricians and family doctors as vaccine providers and to make sure Pfizer vaccine supplies are available at local pharmacies.
In Minnesota, the health department says parents can now make appointments for their kids. Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota have confirmed that they will be administering vaccine doses to this age group beginning Thursday.
The Pfizer #COVID19Vaccine has now been approved for use with young people 12-15 yrs old, & Allina Health will be offering appointments beginning May 13. Appointments are available on a first-come, first served basis. Call 612-262-5533 or schedule online: https://t.co/YN773JJXUB pic.twitter.com/jieDWRQIkB
— Allina Health (@AllinaHealth) May 12, 2021
Even younger children could soon get their vaccines, too. Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing the vaccine in children as young as six months old.
While cases of COVID-19 are often milder in children, health officials have said vaccinating younger Americans would help avert future surges of cases in the adults around them and could accelerate the lifting of some public health restrictions.