Wednesday, February 21, 2024

VDH announces Approval of COVID-19 Vaccine for Adolescents

One step closer: Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have applied for a FDA emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)
(WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

STATEWIDE — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced that health care providers across Virginia can begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to anyone aged 12 years or older.

This news comes two days after the announcement that the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had been modified to include allowing administration to adolescents aged 12 to 15 years old by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Generally, adolescents who contract COVID-19 usually do not develop severe symptoms, but they contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Vaccinating adolescents, along with the rest of Virginia’s eligible population, will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and make our communities safer,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s vaccination coordinator. “Getting this safe, effective vaccine means that these adolescents won’t have to miss school, sporting events or other activities if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, taking another step toward getting their lives back to normal.”

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In trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has proven to be 100 percent effective in preventing the contraction of COVID-19 in adolescents between 12 and 15 years old. According to the weekly American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) State-Level Data Report, as of May 6, 2021, over 3.85 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 102,682 cumulative cases in children in Virginia. Children represented 14 percent of all cases in the U.S., and 15.5 percent in Virginia.

“This is great news. Like everyone else, our young people have had their lives disrupted over the past year. Vaccination will allow all of us to come together with the assurance that we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves and each other. I urge families to make vaccination a priority for everyone who qualifies to be vaccinated,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “Millions of people already have been vaccinated, and the FDA and the CDC continue to monitor COVID-19 vaccines for side effects. This is indeed our shot at ending this pandemic and saving lives.”

In most cases, adolescents must have the consent of a parent or guardian, as well as be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine. If administered in a school setting, written permission from the parent or guardian is required.


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