By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week that children aged 12 to 15 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and San Bernardino County will soon be taking appointments and walk-ups for children ages 12-15.
“Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, adding that the medicine has been extensively tested and is safe for their children.
While the FDA first granted Pfizer’s request for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine in December, until now the vaccine had been authorized only for people age 16 and older. Pfizer, which received federal approval to include children in its vaccine trials in October, asked the FDA to broaden its emergency use authorization for the vaccine after clinical trials found “100% efficacy and robust antibody responses” in study participants who were 12 to 15.
Dr. Sharon Wang, an infectious disease physician working at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), said she is very excited about this new development and is encouraging parents throughout the county to schedule appointments for their children.
“This is one more tool that will help the U.S. end the pandemic and get us back to normal,” said Dr. Wang. “While young people have generally avoided the worst effects of COVID-19, the benefits of getting vaccinated go way beyond protection of the individual getting a shot; it also protects those who are more vulnerable to severe effects, including hospitalization and even death.”
Wang added that getting more young people vaccinated will also allow more youth-oriented activities to resume and more schools to open for in-person instruction.
County health officials said parents of younger residents will begin scheduling appointments as soon as Thursday. In California, minors under 18 will need a parent or guardian to make an appointment or fill out the paperwork in the case of walk-ups.
Interested youth and their parents should check the County’s COVID-19 vaccination page to find providers, locations and schedule an appointment. Parents may also walk-up to County vaccination sites with their children.
All three makers of U.S.-authorized vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are studying the safety and effectiveness of their vaccines in children, including those as young as 6 months. Pfizer said it will not be ready to ask the FDA for new EUA expansions for kids younger than 12 until September.