THE CDC has formally adopted a recommendation from a panel of its independent advisers to use Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents age 12 to 15.
“CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement, calling the move “another important step to getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and closer to normalcy.” Her announcement came after an hours-long meeting of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which voted 14-0 in favor of the vaccine for adolescents, with one member abstaining.
Though the Food and Drug Administration already granted emergency use authorization for the vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15 on Monday, only a small handful of states — including Georgia and North Carolina — had so far directed providers in their states to begin giving the shots to adolescents. The CDC says vaccinators are required to follow its recommendations, which before today’s vote had only allowed for the shots to be used in people as young as 16.
To help reach families who want the shots, the Biden administration said the CDC is working with state officials to enroll more pediatricians and family doctors as vaccine providers and to make sure Pfizer vaccine supplies are available at local pharmacies.
Federal and local health officials are planning on a “stepwise approach” to rolling out Pfizer’s shot for adolescents, CDC officials said, including adding new school-based vaccination programs later this year.