SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Today, the CDC signed off on expanded usage of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old. This cleared the way for pharmacies and vaccine centers to start giving out shots across the US as early as tomorrow.
Just two days after the FDA expanded Pfizer's Emergency Use Authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine to include 12- to 15-year-olds, the CDC also gave it the green light.
"The gates are now open for all states and all communities to start immunizing adolescence between 12 to 15 years of age," Dr. Mark Sawyer, Pediatrics infectious disease physician at Rady Children's Hospital and UCSD Health Systems, said.
Dr. Sawyer has served on the CDC recommendation board for other vaccines in the past. He said once the FDA authorizes its use, the CDC advisors are the ones to recommend how it is used.
"The dose for 12-year-olds is exactly the same as for 50-year-olds," Dr. Sawyer said.
According to Pfizer's report, the clinical trials for this age group resulted in "100% efficacy and robust antibody responses." The CDC advisors also addressed where the COVID-19 vaccine stands in terms of required back-to-school immunizations.
"We are not seeing any unusual reactions, and as a result, they said now we could start giving the vaccines either together with other vaccines on the same day or close together," Dr. Sawyer said.
Once the Western States Working Group completes its guidance, San Diego County expects to begin vaccinating kids in this age group Thursday morning. Rady Children's Hospital and UCSD Health systems have both opened up appointments on their websites. Parental consent is required.
"Minors will have to show some proof of eligibility like a birth certificate or a school ID," San Diego Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said.
This expansion comes as the County is expected to receive 200,000 vaccine doses next week. Fletcher believed two-thirds of those would be Pfizer shots.
Experts believe this expansion of the vaccine is the first of many to come.
"I do expect those trials to come forward in the next few months, and so by fall or at least winter, I think we may be immunizing in young children as well," Dr. Sawyer said.
Walgreens and CVS have announced Pfizer shots will be available for children at their pharmacies, and its rollout would be the same as what they did for adults.