The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved BioNTech and Pfizer’s request to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12-15 in emergency cases but that doesn’t mean the shots will immediately be available to other members of that age group in San Diego County.
Before the younger teenagers could get a COVID-19 shot in the region, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup must discuss and approve the matter. The group, which covers California, Washington, Nevada and Oregon, is comprised of nationally acclaimed scientists and independently reviews FDA recommendations on coronavirus vaccines.
Once the workgroup discusses the federal recommendations, it must make its approval separate from that of the FDA before California can adopt new practices. Wednesday marks the group’s next meeting, where members will likely discuss the FDA’s new ruling.
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If approved by the western states workgroup, an announcement on inoculating children 12-15 could potentially be made as soon as Thursday. After the green light is given, it would then be up to San Diego County officials to give the all-clear for the region.
San Diego Unified School District board president Richard Barrera said the district is eager to have vaccines administered to younger teenagers and would begin to expand their walk-in clinics to middle schools once the county allows it. That age group’s vaccines would first required available supply and parental consent.
In the meantime, the shots began to be offered on campus at several SDUSD high schools earlier this week. making it more convenient for interested students aged 16 and older.