FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – COVID-19 vaccination sites in Kentucky began administering the Pfizer vaccine to those who are 12 to 15 years old on Thursday, following federal regulatory approval.
The action comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization was expanded earlier this week to allow use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine among those 12 years of age and older, and subsequent approval by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“More Kentuckians have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and further protect themselves and those around them from this dangerous virus,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We’ve seen new COVID-19 cases decline as more and more vaccines have been administered. Now, many Kentucky children and young teens have a chance to roll up their sleeves and become heroes for their communities by receiving their shot of hope.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 231,000 Kentuckians are in the 12-15 age group, which makes up roughly 5% of the state’s total population.
Among the three COVID-19 vaccines that are available, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only option for individuals 12-17 years of age. Consent from a parent or legal guardian is required before the vaccine can be administered to those who are under 18 in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health has emphasized that:
--Children are less likely to develop severe illness from COVID-19 but can spread it to others even when they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Therefore, vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds will help to protect more vulnerable adults by reducing their likelihood of exposure from infected family members. This is important for vulnerable adults even if they are immunized.
--The Pfizer vaccine has proven very highly effective at preventing COVID-19 cases in 12- to 15-year-olds.
--Children represent a growing proportion of reported cases, and clusters of cases have occurred among adolescents in schools and on sports teams.
--Individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19, which minimizes disruption to the individual and their family.
To see all vaccination sites, the vaccines they offer and free transportation options to and from vaccination appointments, visit vaccine.ky.gov.
To see a list of vaccination sites that have openings this week, visit vaccinemap.ky.gov, and choose your county from the crop-down menu.