The Pennsylvania Department of Health is encouraging all COVID-19 vaccine providers to start vaccinating anyone age 12 and over with the Pfizer vaccine as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held a meeting Wednesday to review the data and make an official recommendation to use the vaccine for this age group. The CDC also said that the Pfizer vaccine could be co-administered with other routine vaccinations.
“Hundreds of vaccine providers in Pennsylvania already have Pfizer vaccine on hand and are ready to safely and efficiently vaccinate people in this age group,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said, noting that the state’s vaccine provider network is expanding each week.
People can find Pfizer vaccination locations near them using Vaccines.gov, also known as Vaccine Finder. Individuals also can text their zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish and receive three possible vaccination sites in their area, then choose locations based on availability of the Pfizer vaccine.
In Berks County, two organizations have already announced they will begin scheduling vaccine appointments for kids 12 and over.
Penn State Health is now offering vaccines to ages 12 to 15 at their EnerSys Technology Center vaccine site, 2400 Bernville Road, Reading. Parents or guardians of these can schedule vaccinations at https://vaccine-scheduler.pennstatehealth.org
Olivet Boys & Girls Club and Centro Hispano have partnered to host a youth vaccine clinic on Saturday May 15th, from 11-3pm, at the Pendora Unit of the Olivet Boys & Girls Club, 330 S. 19th Street. The clinic is for youth only, ages 12-18. Any youth within Berks County can attend the clinic. Appointments can be made in advance using the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c4ba8a82faaffc34-05152021
In Pennsylvania, immunizations, like other general medical services, require consent. The Department of Health recommends that vaccine providers follow their current policy for vaccinations of minors.
“Once all of the approvals are in place, Pennsylvania vaccine providers will be ready to begin vaccinating these young people to add them to the more than 5.7 million Pennsylvanians who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far,” Acting Secretary Beam said.
The eligibility of 12- to 15-year-olds does not change the Department of Health’s criteria for at least 70 percent of Pennsylvania adults to get fully vaccinated for the state’s mask mandate to be lifted. According to the CDC, as of Wednesday, 46.2 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.