ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County is preparing to vaccinate the next group of eligible residents: younger teenagers.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday it’s expanding the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15.
The next step is for the CDC’s independent advisory committee to review the data and provide a recommendation. The committee met Wednesday afternoon and gave the OK for vaccines to be distributed, clearing the way for 17 million children in the U.S. to get protection against the virus.
County Executive Sam Page said St. Louis County and its partners are ready for the authorization if and when it happens.
“That is something we expect the state to approve as well and we may be able to start vaccinating as soon as Thursday,” Page said. “Once that approval is in place, we’ll begin making appointments for this age group.”
“Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations," Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement Monday.
The agency said the two-dose vaccine has "met the statutory criteria" to allow the EUA to be amended, and says the "known and potential benefits of this vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older outweigh the known and potential risks."
Children in the latest age group who want to get vaccinated will need to have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. The form is similar to the ones used for 16- and 17-year-olds who’ve already been receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Once approved, the form will be available on St. Louis County’s coronavirus website.
“A parent or guardian can bring a child in for a vaccination appointment or they can sign the form at home and send it with their minor child to the appointment,” Page explained.
St. Louis County has vaccines widely available for residents, including at five walk-up sites throughout the county.
More information about vaccine availability can be found on St. Louis County’s COVID-19 information site.