DeWine: Ohio to expand Pfizer vaccine eligibility to youth 12 to 15

FDA approved the vaccine on Monday for children as young as 12.

Eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio will be expanded to children as young as 12 once a federal vaccine advisory committee issues its guidelines, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday night.

DeWine’s announcement follows the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of the vaccine for youth ages 12 to 15. The vaccine already is approved for use in 16- and 17-year-olds.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to provide recommendations Wednesday for using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds, the Associated Press reported.

Shots could begin as soon as Thursday for children 12 to 15.

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DeWine issued a statement following the FDA’s announcement:

“I am encouraged that the FDA has already updated Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authorization to include youth ages 12-15. Following a recommendation, as soon as Wednesday, from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC, Ohio will immediately expand vaccine eligibility to youth ages 12-15 and provide appropriate guidance for parents, guardians, and vaccine providers across the state. Vaccinations are our way back to a more normal life.”

Canada recently became the first country to expand use of the Pfizer vaccine to ages 12 and older. Parents, school administrators and public health officials elsewhere have eagerly awaited approval for the shot for younger children, the AP reported.

“This is a watershed moment in our ability to fight back the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president who’s also a pediatrician, told the AP.