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Utah health officials respond to FDA authorization of Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15

May 10, 2021, 4:50 PM | Updated: 5:25 pm
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Smith’s pharmacist Mark Welch prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination event at a church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Photo courtesy: Deseret News)
(Photo courtesy: Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has responded to the announcement made Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents ages 12 through 15.

“As is the case with all vaccines, the UDOH recommends providers wait for final guidance from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) prior to administering COVID-19 vaccine to anyone ages 12-15 years,” the UDOH said in a statement.

In the statement, UDOH went on to say that the ACIP is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 12, and at that time is expected to issue its recommendation.

After that, the UDOH statement indicates that individual providers will determine how quickly they can begin giving the vaccine to that age group.

“There are approximately 215,000 Utah children in this age group,” UDOH deputy director, Dr. Michelle Hofmann said, “and expanding vaccine access to them will push us even closer to the finish line in our battle against COVID-19.”

“Data presented by Pfizer indicate its vaccine is highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in this age group. In fact, none of the clinical trial participants who received the vaccine ever became infected with COVID-19.”

Local pediatric physician reacts to Pfizer announcement

After the Pfizer announcement from the FDA, Dr. Andy Pavia, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Utah and Director of Epidemiology at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital said younger teens play an important role in the transmission of the virus.

“This may mark a real turning point in our ability to get towards a high level of protection,” Pavia said.

He also said he realizes some parents may have concerns about the vaccines. So he urged them to talk to their own providers. And Pavia says parents should think about the timing of vaccinations as well, because of school schedules and other required immunizations. 

Hear more from Intermountain Healthcare below.

 

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Utah health officials respond to FDA authorization of Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15