Starting May 13, all state vaccination sites in Kentucky can administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to Kentuckians who are 12-15 years-old, and this follows the FDA’s recent emergency use authorization and the CDC’s approval of the vaccine for that age group.
On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an emergency use authorization in order to support the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine among those who are 12 years old and older, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) subsequently approved the usage of the vaccine on younger Americans.
Therefore, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that starting May 13, all state vaccination sites can administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to Kentuckians who are 12-15 years-old. Kentuckians who are 16 years-old or older are already permitted for receiving the vaccine.
“Starting tomorrow, more Kentuckians will have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and further protect themselves and those around them from this dangerous virus,” Beshear said in a statement. “We’ve seen new COVID-19 cases decline as more and more vaccines have been administered. Now, many Kentucky children and young teens have a chance to roll up their sleeves and become heroes for their communities by receiving their shot of hope.”
About 231,000 Kentuckians are within the age group of 12-15 years old, which makes up roughly 5 percent of the state’s total population, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine option for individuals 12-17 years of age, among the three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines that are available. Consent from a parent or legal guardian is required in order for the vaccine to be administered to those who are 12-17 years-old in Kentucky.
During a press conference on May 12, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said that the state is now reaching people who might have more questions about getting vaccinated. Regarding vaccines and the effects of COVID-19 on the age group of 12-15, the Kentucky Department for Public Health emphasized that:
• Children are less likely to develop severe illness from COVID-19; however, they can spread COVID-19 to others even when they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Therefore, vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds will help protect more vulnerable adults by reducing their likelihood of exposure from infected family members. This is important for vulnerable adults even if they are immunized.
• The Pfizer vaccine has proven very highly effective at preventing COVID-19 cases in 12- to 15-year-olds.
• Children represent a growing proportion of reported cases, and clusters of cases have occurred among adolescents in schools and on sports teams.
• Individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after an exposure to someone with COVID-19, which minimizes disruption to the individual and their family.
The CDC strongly recommends that people receive both doses of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective when both doses are administered, and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1 percent effective when both doses are administered. The CDC states that both doses are necessary for protection against the virus. The Janssen/Johnson&Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine and 85 percent effective.
To see all vaccination sites and free transportation options to and from vaccination appointments, visit, vaccine.ky.gov.
Kentuckians who live in the counties of Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin and Magoffin can call Eastern Kentucky’s new regional call center in order to receive help with registering with a local healthcare provider for a vaccination. The center is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it is meant to help those who do not have available access to a computer or the Internet. There are four phone numbers that can be used to contact the call center: (606) 437-3862, (606) 437-3863, (606) 437-3865, and (606) 437-3866.