State health officials approve Pfizer vaccine for 12+ year olds

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FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 is shown at a one-day vaccination clinic set up in an Amazon.com facility in Seattle and operated by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

DEVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Health and Environment says COVID-19 vaccine providers can now give the Pfizer vaccine to any Coloradan over the age of 12.

This comes after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Vaccine Practices approved using Pfizer’s vaccine on anyone over the age of 12. The Food and Drug Administration made a similar decision earlier this week.

In a clinical trial that involved more than 2,000 12-15 year olds, Pfizer’s vaccine was shown to be safe and effective. There were 18 cases of COVID-19 in the placebo group and none in the vaccine group. Participants didn’t experience any adverse reactions. Some of them did exhibit side effects that were similar to those in young adults such as temporary sore arms, fatigue, headaches, chills and muscle aches.

“We are excited to hear that we are able to offer this safe and effective vaccine to nearly 300,000 additional Coloradans between the ages of 12 and 15,” said Dr. Alexis Burakoff, a medical epidemiologist at CDPHE. “As more older Coloradans have accessed the vaccine, we are seeing higher rates of cases in teenagers and children. We know there is a clear correlation between high vaccination rates and low infection rates, and this vaccine can now provide relief for thousands of additional families across the state.”

Minors who are under the age of 18 who wish to get a COVID-19 vaccine need written permission from their parents. They don’t need to be present for the vaccine as long as consent is documented, but people should confirm with their provider to be sure.

The state’s vaccine provider map includes information on which vaccine each location is administering. All of the state’s Community Vaccination Sites offer the Pfizer vaccine, and most do not require an appointment.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still only available to adults over the age of 18.

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