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COVID vaccinations of 12-to-15 year olds to begin

CHARLESTON — Vaccinations against the COVID-19 coronavirus are now available for residents 12- to 15-years old in Ohio and West Virginia, officials announced following the approval by federal agencies.

The Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices of the Centers of Disease Control on Wednesday afternoon approved using the Pfizer vaccine for the 12-to-15 age group, a decision which followed Monday’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization for the vaccine for the age group.

“This is an important step in our fight against the pandemic,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health in the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. “Younger populations are contracting the virus and spreading it and choosing to be vaccinated will help stop the spread. We encourage all eligible West Virginians to choose to be vaccinated as soon as they get the opportunity.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said vaccines available to more people will help in returning “to the life we want to live.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine is incredibly powerful, and by protecting more individuals, we make everyone safer,” DeWine said.

In West Virginia, vaccinations for 12-to-15 year olds will immediately begin, an effort coordinated through the Joint Interagency Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines with local health departments, pharmacies and other providers.

“We have our schools ready. A number of counties have already done all the pre-work and prepared to provide vaccines,” James Hoyer, director of the task force, said during the governor’s Wednesday’s pandemic briefing. “They will be both available to students to 12-to-18 as well as parents.”

In Ohio, children under 18 who are not emancipated must have parental consent for any vaccine. A parent or legal guardian generally should accompany the minor to receive the vaccine, unless the administration of the vaccine occurs in a physician’s office, school-based or school-associated clinic setting or similar setting, DeWine said.

Hundreds of sites across Ohio are available where youth ages 12-15 can be vaccinated, such as pediatrician’s offices, vaccine clinics, local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, and more.

State law, however, requires those aged 12 to have a prescription to be vaccinated at a pharmacy. Youth aged 13 and older do not need a prescription and may receive their vaccine at a pharmacy or other vaccine provider listed at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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