What to Know
- San Diego County public health officials will start offering Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 12-15 on Thursday, May 13
- Kids in this age group need consent from a parent or guardian to get the vaccine
- Appointments are not necessary but parents should call vaccination sites ahead of time to make sure Pfizer is being offered, as it's the only coronavirus vaccine approved for this age group right now
A state oversight group gave the greenlight overnight for California to start administering Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to children ages 12 to 15, which means San Diego County can officially start the rollout Thursday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement overnight confirming that the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup had reviewed the use of the vaccine and determined it’s safe for young Californians.
“I encourage those who are now eligible to get vaccinated,” Newsom’s statement read. “Expanding vaccine access to teenagers is a critical step in defeating this pandemic and will get us that much closer to safely reopening California’s economy next month.”
The memo from the Western States group said:
“The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, after a thorough review of the evidence from the clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those 12-15 years of age, concludes the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and supports its use. Expanding COVID-19 vaccination to anyone 12 years of age and above will both protect those who are vaccinated and contribute to control of the COVID-19 pandemic in our states.”
The approval from the California group came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday said it recommend usage of the Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Pfizer is the only coronavirus vaccine approved for those under 18 right now.
How Does This Work in San Diego County?
San Diego County public health officials said the county would begin administering the coronavirus vaccine to the 12-15 age group Thursday at county vaccination sites.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county has enough Pfizer doses to vaccinate all 175,864 San Diegans in this age group. Appointments, at this point, aren’t necessary.
“All of our static locations or set locations will all have the Pfizer vaccine available for drop-ins. So, if you would like to make an appointment for your 12 to 15-year-old, you can do that and that will ensure you get Pfizer but you’re also free to drop in at any of our set locations,” Fletcher said at a county public health briefing Wednesday.
The county said that kids in this age group will need these things when getting their COVID-19 shot:
- Consent from a parent or guardian
- Proof of eligibility showing their age, like a birth certificate or school ID card
Parents should call vaccination sites ahead of time to make sure the Pfizer vaccine is being offered, as that’s the only vaccine approved for use within this age group right now.
For parents who would rather make an appointment for their child to get the vaccine, the county is expected to release information soon on how to schedule those appointments for this age group.
If a parent or legal guardian cannot accompany their child to the vaccination site, they will need to schedule an appointment on MyTurn website to provide their consent in advance, the county said.
Vaccines for children 12 to 15 years old are also available at CVS Pharmacy and Ralphs Pharmacy locations across California, according to both companies. Parent consent is required at these locations, also, and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Appointments can be scheduled online for both CVS and Ralphs locations, but walk-ins are also welcome. Their websites are the best way to find out if a location has the Pfizer vaccine that is the only vaccine available for this age group.
Appointments also appear to be available for 12 to 15-year-olds at Rite Aid. You can use this tool to schedule an appointment.
San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said this phase of the vaccine rollout is a milestone.
“Already, near half of our 16 and older population in San Diego County have become fully vaccinated. This is going to allow our 12 to 15-year-old population to become protected as well and let them and their families feel safer.”
Fletcher said the county is expecting a delivery of 200,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine by next week, and two-thirds of that will be the Pfizer vaccine.
"We will be in a strong position to meet the needs of 12 to 15-year-old’s as we move forward," he said. "And we have plenty of vaccines available at this point."
Already eager parents have come out to have their young teens get the shot.
Initially hesitant, San Diego resident Belen Altamirano decided to have her 14-year-old son vaccinated after speaking to a medical professional.
“When I spoke to my doctor, it was just something that was recommended and gave me the extra push," she told NBC 7. "It was quick and done and I feel safe and my family does, too, now.”
Maria Bautista, who got her two children vaccinated, said they did it with the safety and health of themselves and others in mind.
“Kids do what they want to do when they’re not with their parents, so you do what to keep them safe as a parent, and for other children, as well," Bautista said.
According to the county, as of May 12, a total of 1,748,016 San Diego County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 1,286,108 San Diego residents are fully vaccinated. The county’s goal is to have 2,017,011 San Diego residents with at least one dose.
Once 12 to 15-year-old San Diego County residents start getting their vaccines, Fletcher said those population numbers on the county's vaccine dashboard will shift to include the newly vaccinated among the young group.