State-run vaccination sites across Arizona can begin welcoming people ages 12 to 15 today, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The state made the announcement after it was approved for the age group by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for this age group at this time; Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are only approved for people over the age of 18.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free and they’re our best shot to end this pandemic and return to the things we’ve missed. We’re moving quickly to empower parents and guardians to get this protection for their children,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. “Millions of Arizonans have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Soon, kids ages 12 to 15 years old will now be eligible to get vaccinated and state vaccine sites are ready to serve them.”
According to ADHS, Arizona is home to nearly 400,000 young people ages 12 to 15. Approximately 3,076,913 Arizonans have received at least one dose as of Wednesday and over 2.5 million are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Parents and guardians will be able to bring their teens to the vaccination sites in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff.
Pharmacies and other providers with the Pfizer vaccine will also be able to begin vaccinating the new age group today.
A spokesperson for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said the county is expected to open its events to those 12 and up shortly.
“COVID-19 vaccination events in Maricopa County are expected to open to 12+ once a recommendation is made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices following authorization by the FDA,” the spokesperson said prior to the approval. “Safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine in individuals 12-15 yo will be reviewed by ACIP and released in the record of their proceeding. Initial results shared by Pfizer in a press release indicate 100% efficacy at preventing COVID-19 illness and a side effect profile similar to that seen in individuals ages 16-25.”
ADHS said it is coordinating with rural counties that have only received doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines so young people can get vaccinated.
Parents and guardians will be able to register those ages 12 to 15 for vaccination starting at 8 a.m. today by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.gov or calling 844-542-8201. State-run sites no longer require appointments, but having one reduces the length of the visit if someone is already registered in advance.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome these young people to state-run mass-vaccination sites starting Thursday,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ. “These safe, highly effective, and free vaccines are our best shot at returning to normal, and having more vaccinated individuals gives COVID-19 less of a chance of spreading.”