TEXAS – Pfizer is expected to receive an Emergency Use Authorization in the near future, allowing the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to children between the ages of 12 and 15.
With that in mind, the Texas Department of State Health Services is urging pediatric health care providers to enroll in the COVID-19 vaccine program.
Currently, those 16 and older are qualified to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“Vaccinating adolescents will bring us closer to ending the pandemic and returning to normal,” said DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD. “By starting the enrollment process now, pediatric caregivers can begin vaccinating their patients shortly after the FDA expanded the EUA of the Pfizer vaccine.”
DSHS says it has sent a letter to more than 3,000 pediatric healthcare providers urging them to enroll.
Pfizer says its vaccine is 100% effective in adolescents 12 to 15 years old. And data shows that children as young as 16 tolerate the vaccine in the same way as older adults.
Children are less likely to have serious complications from the virus, but pediatricians say it’s important for everyone to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Children under 18 make up more than 20% of the population in the United States.
According to DSHS, 11,347,541 Texans have received at least one dose of vaccine and 8,471,564 have been fully vaccinated.
DSHS reported 1,962 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 713 new probable cases on Friday. The agency also reported 53 new fatalities related to the virus. There are currently 2,568 Texans being treated for the virus in hospitals.