Washington state Department of Health expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older for Pfizer-BioNTech

Thursday, May 13, 2021

No appointment needed for the Shoreline
vaccination clinic at the Shoreline Center
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older following recommendations that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and extremely effective for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) amendment to expand the Pfizer vaccine to people 12 years and older. 

Wednesday night, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup voted to recommend the vaccine for immediate use.

“Expanding eligibility to this younger age group protects our children and gives families peace of mind. It is the best step we can take as parents to ensure our kids remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with friends, and take part in sports and extracurricular activities,” said Umair A. Shah. MD, MPH. 
“Research continues to show this vaccine is safe and I am thrilled it is now an option for parents and their young teens.”

The two-dose vaccine has been authorized for people 16 and older since December. In March, Pfizer announced findings from its vaccine trial which found the vaccine to be safe and 100% effective for kids as young as 12. The company reported the vaccine produced an antibody response in children that exceeded those in earlier trials of older teens and young adults.

Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus, get sick, and spread the virus to others. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill and may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breath. In rare cases, children can die.

COVID-19 vaccine side effects generally mirror those experienced by adults, which may include sore arm, fatigue, or headache. Families that have questions about the vaccine are encouraged to reach out to their child’s health care provider to determine the best option for them. Those under age 18 may need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine, unless they are legally emancipated.



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