JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Starting Thursday, an estimated 17 million children, ages 12 to 15, are now eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off Wednesday on expanding vaccines to all teenagers, saying the vaccine is safe and effective for younger Americans.
The Florida Department of Health has updated its guidelines to match the federal changes. This is only for the Pfizer vaccine and parents must be with them if their child is younger than 18.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management said all state-supported sites that offer the Pfizer vaccine will offer it to children 12 to 15, as well as anyone 16 and older. Locally, that includes Regency Mall, The Legends Center and Celebration Church. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Winn-Dixie and Harveys grocery stores announced Thursday its pharmacies will also begin giving Pfizer to another 12 and up starting immediately.
💉Beginning today, state-supported vaccine sites that offer the Pfizer vaccine will administer the vaccine to individuals ages 12-15. Individuals ages 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.— FL Division of Emergency Management (@FLSERT) May 13, 2021
➡️ Find a full list of sites & the vaccine offered - https://t.co/FlRU9VUWlL
Health officials said the shots will let kids safely attend camps this summer and help assure a more normal return to classrooms next school year.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said he’s hoping to see more schools across the country offer in-person learning. “Even two to three weeks being with your classmates, being with your teacher helps students be prepared for summer learning experiences and the fall,” added Cardona.
Students like 14-year-old Graham Peisner said it’s something they want too. “I’m pretty sure in the fall, I’ll be going back in person in school and just be doing more activities,” said Peisner.
As students prepare for the fall, until now, the CDC has recommended not getting other vaccines within two weeks of a COVID-19 shot.
That changed Wednesday after pediatricians were told they can decide to give other vaccines during that window.