12-15 Year Olds Eligible for Vaccine

Surina Ramoutar, Staff Writer

Previously, COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. had been authorized only for people age 16 and older. Pfizer is the first vaccine manufacturer to gain emergency use authorization for younger Americans after it demonstrated in a March clinical trial that its vaccine was effective. Pfizer tested the effectiveness of these vaccines by performing trials on 2,300 adolescents between the ages of 12-15 by administering the vaccine and a placebo vaccine among the group. In the clinical trial, Pfizer’s vaccine was shown to protect against the virus in those who were given the actual vaccine and not the placebo. It will be administered in two doses, three weeks apart which is the same regimen that people 16 and older have been receiving. The side effects for this age group were consistent with those seen in adults.


President Joe Biden has asked states to make the vaccine available to younger adolescents since vaccines are considered important for a safe return back to schools. Widely vaccinating 12 to 18 year olds could allow U.S. schools and summer camps to relax masking and social distancing measures suggested by the CDC. While kids are less severely affected by COVID-19 than adults, there are children who do get serious cases. Data presented to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices shows that adolescents as a group, ages 12 to 17, are much more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than influenza. The analysis is based on data from flu outbreaks over the past decade. Vaccinating children protects them from serious COVID-19 infections and complications. In addition, the CDC specifies that preliminary data suggests that getting vaccinated reduces transmissibility, and the more people who are vaccinated, the less opportunity there is for the virus to replicate, circulate, and mutate, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.


This action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens the nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19. Within one week, 600,000 12-15 year old Americans were vaccinated. U.S regulators authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used on people as young as 12 on May 12.