BREAKING NEWS: CDC Vaccine Panel Recommends Using Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for 12-15-Year-Olds

BREAKING NEWS, Wednesday, May 12, 3:30 p.m.–Members of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously recommended using Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15-year-olds.

This follows Monday’s extension by the US Food and Drug Administration authorizing emergency use for the vaccine in children as young as 12 years old.

While public health officials and healthcare providers Connecticut began preparing to make vaccines available to adolescents following Monday’s announcement from the FDA, most major sources for providing vaccines said they would wait until the CDC officially weighed in.

During his regular press conference on Monday, May 10, Gov. Ned Lamont said his administration was looking ahead to how the state will roll out the vaccine for children aged 12-15, anticipating that full authorization would happen as of Wednesday.

President Joe Biden said as early as last week that his administration was “ready to move immediately to make about 20,000 pharmacy sites across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents as soon as the FDA grants its OK.”

Lamont is looking forward to moving forward quickly.

“If we can do as well with that age group as we’re doing with the 16 and 17 year olds, it is going to be a very good summer,” he said Monday.

State officials said then that the state is in “good shape” with enough Pfizer vaccine available in preparation to begin providing doses to 12-15 year olds by this Thursday.

“The short answer is yes, our providers did in many cases request additional Pfizer vaccines this week in preparation for 12-15 year olds being authorized later this week. We’ll be very well prepared for that additional expansion of eligibility,” said Josh Geballe, the governor’s chief operating officer.

He said that health providers are ready to hit the ground running immediately after ACIP gives its okay when it’s expected to meet Wednesday afternoon or evening.

“Our providers will be ready [Thursday, May 13]. So, we’ll be ready to go essentially as soon as we get clear guidance and direction from the federal government, and the necessary instructions for our providers. We’ll be ready to go right away,” Geballe said.

Based on what officials have learned from vaccinating 16-17 year olds is that providers likely will see the influx of 12-15 year olds and their families this weekend.

“When parental consent from a guardian is required, which will be the case for the 12-15 year olds, weekends are really the preferred option. So we’ll have a lot of expanded access this weekend coming up, both at our mass vaccination sites, but also at pharmacies. And a number of local health departments are going to do clinics. So there will be a lot of options available for parents and their children who want to get vaccinated in the next week,” Geballe explained.

Wilton’s Health Department has not been able to provide Pfizer vaccines for any past town-sponsored clinics because its health provider partner, Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County, does not have the necessary refrigeration capability. As a result, Wilton will not be hosting any specific clinics for adolescents or any other people. [Editor’s note:  the Wilton Health Department has suspended vaccine clinics as demand has dropped and vaccines are widely available elsewhere.]

Where can adolescents get the vaccine?

Vaccine providers that currently offer the Pfizer vaccine to children 16-17 years old will expand eligibility to adolescents aged 12-15. Among them are Community Health Center  Inc. drive up locations at Danbury Mall and the Lord and Taylor in Stamford.

Families can also search on the CT state vaccine finder website. Locations that include “16+” or state Pfizer as an option will soon reflect the change in age on the website.

Stamford Hospital and Yale New Haven Health systems have also started scheduling children 12-15 years old.

Children as young as 12 can be vaccinated at walk-up vaccination locations in the state that offer the Pfizer vaccine.

Families can also search and register for a vaccine appointment on the Vaccine Administration Management Site (VAMS)

The state’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line (877.918.2224) is available 8 a.m.-8 p.m. EST, seven days a week.

Do minors need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian?

Yes.