Indiana, Illinois able to vaccinate youngsters ages 12-15

Posted: May 13, 2021 / 8:40 am EDT
Updated: May 13, 2021 / 11:49 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Health and Illinois Department of Health stand ready to begin vaccinating adolescents ages 12-15.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday recommended the use of the Pfizer vaccine for this new age group after the FDA expanded the vaccine’s emergency approval. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in people under the age of 18.

Knox County’s Health Officer Dr. Alan Stewart says age extension is a plus for everyone.

“We are very excited about the fact that they are vaccinating or have vaccines available for the 12-15 year olds,” said Dr. Stewart. “This will add another segment of the population.”

In Indiana, registration for the new age group opened on Thursday at 8 a.m. on the state’s vaccination website.

Adam Thacker, Chief Operations Officer of Good Samaritan Hospital, says that children in the new age group are already enrolling for the vaccine, but it’s important to note that the vaccine process is slightly different for this new age group.

“The really fundamental difference in this most recent approval with the 12 to 15 year old population is the consent of the parents or guardians,” said Thacker. “The 12 to 15 year old, a parent or legal guardian must be present for the vaccination.”

“The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and has been well tolerated by adolescents participating in clinical trials,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “This vaccine is the next step towards normalcy for children who have missed so much over the past year, including school and extracurricular activities. Individuals who are fully vaccinated no longer need to be quarantined if they are in close contact with a positive case unless they develop symptoms of COVID. This is welcome news for children and parents. “

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To find a vaccination clinic that offers Pfizer vaccine in Indiana, visit and look for a website that lists Pfizer as an option, or call 211 if you don’t have access to have a computer or need help. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are allowed.

Dr. Stewart encourages anyone who is eligible for vaccination as the virus can cause serious complications for all ages.

“It is possible that the children will get very sick. We have actually seen a case of multi-inflammatory syndrome in our community that is very dangerous and potentially life threatening, ”said Dr. Stewart. “We are excited about anything we can do to increase the number of people on the vaccine and reduce the spread of the virus.”

In Illinois, COVID-19 vaccinations are available for people 12 years of age and older at state-sponsored mass vaccination and mobile clinics, local health departments, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, and other vendors offering the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

The Illinois Department of Health is working to add pediatricians to the state vaccination registry so they can give their patients a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, schools can work with the local health department or pharmacy to set up vaccination clinics for students.

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Individuals should check with their local health department or health care provider to see if a parent or guardian is required for a person under the age of 18 to receive the vaccine, or if some other form of written consent is required.

An adult must accompany a child between the ages of 12 and 15 to the appointment; Parents’ consent is required for minors.

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