LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Central Virginia Health District (CVHD) announced they will begin vaccinating individuals who are between 12 – 15 years old.
This announcement comes following federal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents. The vaccine was previously approved for those aged 16 and older, while two other available vaccines are approved for those 18 and older.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention approved use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12- 15 Wednesday.
“This approval marks an important step toward reaching herd immunity and further controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants,” said Dr. Lindsey Lockewood, public information officer and population health manager for CVHD.
In the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial, with about 2,000 participants aged 12–15, the vaccine was found to be 100-percent effective in preventing COVID-19 from occurring at least seven days after the second dose.
Administration of the vaccine will be the same as in adults: given in two doses, separated by 21 days.
Teenagers are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose. Side effects in this age group included pain or redness in the arm where the vaccine is given, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved for use in those under 18 years of age, so parents and guardians should ensure that vaccine is offered before scheduling an appointment or attending a walk-in clinic.
To schedule an appointment, go to vaccinate.virginia.gov, and search for locations offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. You can also call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).
In most cases, teens must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian and be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or someone acting in the place of a guardian to receive a vaccine. In a school setting, written consent is required, but a parent or guardian is not required to be present.
Health officials ask that you check with the facility that is offering the vaccination about consent and accompanying.
Sites run by the Virginia Department of Health require the parent or guardian to verbally confirm a minor’s date of birth. However, other providers may require additional proof of age.