Providers in Virginia ready for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine authorization in kids 12 and older


FILE – In this Jan. 22, 2021, file photo, empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in kids aged 12 and older, and now preparations are under way for the shot to be offered to adolescents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is planning to meet on Wednesday and make a recommendation to the CDC on whether or not the vaccine is safe for use in adolescents aged 12-15.

As of May 11, VDH reported 72,193 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in kids aged 10 to 19.

Statewide, Virginia Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said in a statement that they must have CDC authorization before it can be offered to that age group. Once the ACIP makes its recommendation, the CDC will issue a final decision. The Virginia Department of Health does not know when that final decision will be made, but Avula said the state remains ready.

“We are encouraged by the FDA’s action and its support of the vaccine’s use in those 12 and older,” Avula said. “Virginia already has begun planning for the expansion of vaccine availability to this age group, including having discussions with local health districts, school systems, pediatricians and other physicians, and our pharmacy partners.”

Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are already ready once given the green light.

“We anticipate the emergency authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 later this week and Walgreens is prepared to safely and equitably administer it to this population,” a Walgreens corporate spokesperson told 8News in a statement. “This is another notable milestone that will help end the pandemic. With Pfizer vaccines available in over 60 percent of Walgreens stores, and with our experience immunizing adolescents, Walgreens is ready to vaccinate this newly eligible population safely, equitably and as quickly as possible.”

“We’re fully prepared to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children ages 12 – 15 at thousands of CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide as soon as permitted,” a CVS spokesperson said.

Walgreens is accepting appointments, which you can make online, over the phone, or through their app. Walk-ins are also welcome up to 30 minutes prior to the desired appointment time.

Currently Publix only offers the Moderna vaccine and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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