Vaccination of children 12-15 against COVID-19 could begin within days in Texas
(KWTX) - The vaccination of children from 12- to 15-years-of-age could begin within days in Texas and the state is urging pediatric healthcare providers to enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to included adolescents from 12 to 15.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory committee meets Wednesday to review the vaccine for adolescents and is expected to approve the expansion.
“Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said Monday.
“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.”
Last week, in anticipation of the expansion of the emergency use authorization, the Texas Department of State Health Services sent a letter to more than 3,000 pediatric providers enrolled in the Texas Vaccines for Children Program as well as to the Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society and other provider groups inviting them to enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program.
“Vaccinating adolescents will bring us closer to ending the pandemic and getting back to normal,” DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said.
“Starting the enrollment process now will enable pediatric providers to start vaccinating their patients soon after the FDA expands the Pfizer vaccine’s EUA.”
From March 1, 2020 through April 30 of this year, about 1.5 million COVID-19 cases have been reported to the CDC involving people from 11- to 17-years-of-age.
The FDA says the potential benefits of administering the vaccine to those from 12 to 15 outweigh potential risks.
“Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
“With science guiding our evaluation and decision-making process, the FDA can assure the public and medical community that the available data meet our rigorous standards to support the emergency use of this vaccine in the adolescent population 12 years of age and older.”
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