Utah children 12 and up now eligible to get Pfizer vaccine

Coronavirus Updates

FILE – This Jan. 24, 2021, file photo shows a vial of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 in Seattle. U.S. regulators on Monday, May 10, 2021, expanded use of Pfizer’s shot to those as young as 12, sparking a race to protect middle and high school students before they head back to class in the fall. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Department of Health has given the green light for children ages 12 to 15 to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement comes after a CDC advisory committee recommended the vaccine for use on Wednesday.

UDOH officials say the 215,000 Utah children who fall into this age group are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 23,419 children ages 12 to 15 have tested positive for COVID-19, with 201 of those children being hospitalized, according to UDOH officials.

“The sooner providers start vaccinating these kids, the better,” says Gov. Spencer J. Cox. “Many Utah parents have been waiting for this news so they can make sure their families are more fully protected. This will mean safer gatherings with family and friends and an epic summer.”

“Despite popular thinking, many kids get COVID-19. Some of them get sick enough to require treatment in hospitals and some suffer from serious, potentially long-lasting side effects at rates similar to adults, even when they were asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms at the time of their infection,” says Dr. Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the UDOH. “Protecting these kids by getting them vaccinated is such an important milestone in the COVID-19 response.”

Previously, the Food and Drug Administration declared the Pfizer vaccine safe for younger populations based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15.

On Wednesday, UDOH reported 468 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new virus-related deaths, with 12 of the deaths occurring before April 12, 2021.

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