Coronavirus Disease 2019

Today, I adopted CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents. CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away.

Though most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization. There have also been rare, tragic cases of children dying from COVID-19 and its effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

This official CDC recommendation follows Monday’s FDA decision to authorize emergency use of this vaccine in 12- through 15-year-old adolescentsexternal icon, and is another important step to getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and closer to normalcy.

For vaccination to do its job, we must do our critical part. That means vaccinating as many people as possible who are eligible. This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19. Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected.

Some parents have already made plans for their adolescents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Understandably, some parents want more information before their children receive a vaccine. I encourage parents with questions to talk to your child’s healthcare provider or your family doctor to learn more about the vaccine. And if your adolescent is behind on routinely recommended vaccines due to the pandemic or for other reasons, now would be a good time to work with your child’s nurse or doctor to make sure they get caught up.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is faster and more convenient than ever. About nine out of 10 Americans live within 5 miles of a COVID-19 vaccination site. In the coming weeks, two popular ride-sharing services will offer free rides to vaccination appointments until July 4. To find the site closest to you, visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233.

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