Where to get 12-15 year old kids vaccinated in New York
Following FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine for use in 12-15 year-olds, New York and other US cities are starting a drive to get kids back in school.
Following the decision of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel on Wednesday to authorize the use of covid-19 vaccines in school-age children, the race is now on in the United States to bring the number of kids getting their jabs up to speed with the rest of the population. As of 15 May, the US vaccine rollout has resulted in over 36 percent of US citizens being fully vaccinated and almost 47 percent having received at least one dose with 268.4 million doses administered overall, according to CDC figures.
However, until now children had been omitted from the vaccination program due to concerns about possible side effects on adolescents receiving a covid-19 vaccine. Both the Moderna and J&J vaccines are both currently undergoing clinical trials on the age group while Pfizer-BioNTech, which is one of the three vaccines in use in the US after all were granted emergency authorization by the FDA, had previously only been cleared for use on people aged 16 or over.
Now US regulators have authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in children as young as 12, making it the first covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the United States for the 12 to 15 age group, and the first doses have been administered across the country, paving the way for a return to normalcy in US classrooms ahead of the next school year.
"Now that vaccine is authorized for ages 12 and up, and I encourage their parents to make sure they get the shot," Joe Biden said last Wednesday. "This is one more giant step on our fight against the pandemic."
Vaccinating younger ages is considered an important step for getting children back into schools safely and Biden has asked states to make the vaccine available to younger adolescents immediately.
The FDA authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for the 12-15 age group means an additional 17 million children will be eligible to receive a covid vaccine. This is particularly important given that recent studies indicate the under-18 age group accounts for one of every five new covid-19 infections in the US.
Vaccine drive for kids starts in New York
A round of applause rang out on Thursday as New York teenagers began receiving covid-19 vaccinations.
Brothers Thomas and Brendan Lo, and Sydney Glover were among the first adolescents to be vaccinated at the Cohen Children's Medical Center on New York's Long Island.
"It feels good," said Thomas, 15. "Now I can meet with my friends and I won't have to worry so much about getting covid. Covid is probably a ton worse than getting a vaccine."
Most children with covid-19 only develop mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, children are not without risk of becoming seriously ill, and they can still spread the virus.
There have been outbreaks traced to sporting events and other activities for children in this age range.
When asked what he will do after receiving the vaccine, Thomas said, "First, I'm going to wait for the second dose and then after that in two weeks I'll be able to be fully protected against covid. And then I'll go hang out with some friends."
Where to get the covid-19 vaccine in New York
“We have a full plan to reach young New Yorkers and get them vaccinated,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a press conference after the approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
However, due to Pfizer being the only approved vaccine for the 12-15 age range, New York City health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi noted that parents will need to make an appointment to have their kids vaccinated at centers offering the Pfizer jab.
Appointments can be made via the city’s vaccine finder website, where a list of centers offering jabs is available.
The CDC also has a similar portal, where people can find out where vaccination centers have been set up in their zip codes and book appointments to receive a jab.