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On Monday, May 10, 2021 the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12-15 years of age. This approval by the FDA is an important step in reducing the burden of COVID-19 in our community. However, before the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to this age group, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) must meet to discuss safety and use of Pfizer vaccine for adolescents. This meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12. If the evidence shows that the vaccine is safe and effective for use in individuals 12 to 15 years of age, then clinical guidance for providers will be finalized. It may take a few days for the written clinical guidance to be available for local vaccine providers.
Linn County Public Health asks parents and guardians of adolescents age 12 to 15 to wait to schedule appointments for this age group until the written clinical guidance is available to vaccine providers. Linn County vaccine providers understand many parents and guardians are eager to make these appointments, and asks individuals to be patient as providers await final recommendations and guidelines for vaccinating this age group. Linn County Public Health will make an announcement once adolescents age 12 to 15 can begin receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. As a reminder, currently individuals age 16 and older may receive the Pfizer vaccine, and individuals 18 and older may receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Getting a vaccine is easy and convenient. Find a vaccine provider at www.vaccines.gov.
The ability to vaccinate new segments of the population will help protect our community. Parents and guardians can be assured that the FDA and ACIP conduct rigorous and thorough review of all available data prior to making any recommendations. Vaccination of the younger population will bring us closer to ending this pandemic and returning to normalcy. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your healthcare provider or call the Linn County COVID-19 call center at 319-892-6097. COVID-19 Vaccine Information Session recordings are available in multiple languages, and are available at https://www.iowacovidinfo.org/recordings.
For more COVID-19 information specific to Linn County, visit LinnCounty.org/COVID19.