About 400,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15 become eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine in Massachusetts Thursday.
Health care and vaccine providers across the state were already positioned to start vaccinating the age group, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday, pending a vote from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel.
The CDC signed off on expanded usage of Pfizer's and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for children over 12 Wednesday, clearing the way for pediatricians to start giving out the shots across the U.S. as early as Thursday.
The Baker Administration has been reaching out to pediatricians to ensure they play a role in providing shots to those eligible children. Baker encouraged parents to reach out to their primary care physicians with any questions about COVID-19 vaccines for teenagers.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendation, which was adopted 14-0 with one refusal, comes two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer's and BioNTech's request to allow their shot to be given to young teens on an emergency use basis. The endorsement then received final approval from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Moderna is also testing its COVID-19 vaccine in children below the age of 16 but has not yet received federal approval for use in younger populations.
Some children were already getting their first dose Wednesday night at the Boys & Girls Club in Worcester. Echela Sahajapal brought her 14-year-old daughter to get vaccinated.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on the trials for the children because it’s very important for me to get her vaccinated," Sahajapal said.
New Hampshire on Thursday will open appointments in VINI, the state's vaccine scheduling and appointment website.
"Our teams have been preparing to expand eligibility to individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 years old for weeks now and are ready to hit the ground running tomorrow," Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement. "The vaccine is safe, it is effective, and it remains a vital tool in our efforts against COVID-19. We encourage all families to consider vaccinating their children, and to have those one-on-one conversations with their doctors should they have any questions."
Parents and guardians will be able to register and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for their children age 12 to 15 years old. Same-day appointments are available at some vaccination clinics.
Anyone under the age of 18 must have consent from a parent or guardian. This can be verbal consent or written consent onsite or an electronic consent form that can be signed by the parent or guardian at the time of registration.
In Vermont, registration for the age group opened Thursday morning. Appointments can be made by visiting healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine. Parents or caregivers can create an account, or use their existing account, and add a child as a dependent.
“With final approval now given to begin vaccinations for those 12 to 15 years old with the Pfizer vaccine, Vermont is ready,” said Governor Phil Scott. “As early as tomorrow, Vermonters in this new age band can sign up and begin receiving their shots. My team has worked in partnership with dozens of school districts and other partners to make this as easy and accessible as possible. The more Vermonters who step up and get vaccinated, the faster we’ll be able to get back to doing more of the things we’ve missed over the past months.”
Vaccination of children 12 to 15 years old has begun in Maine as well, affiliate News Center Maine reports.
“The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective at preventing serious illness and death caused by COVID-19. Now with the authorization of the U.S. FDA, Maine providers may begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to children 12 and older,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I encourage parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible to protect their health, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our state, and to help us get back to normal sooner.”
In Connecticut, parents and legal guardians can sign their children up for an appointment or visit a vaccine clinic that is accepting walkup patients.
Pfizer is the only coronavirus vaccine has been approved for children in this age group, so those planning to attend walkup clinics should check which vaccine is available ahead of time.
Children must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian to get a vaccine.
State officials said roughly 170,000 children are in this age group that is now able to get a shot.
Rhode Island residents age 12 to 15 can now be scheduled for appointments for the Pfizer vaccine at pharmacies or by visiting vaccinateRI.org.