KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FDA and CDC expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to children ages 12 to 15. On May 12, Kansas and Missouri signed the order.
In Missouri alone, this expanded authorization creates vaccine eligibility for approximately 313,000 additional individuals.
Over the past year, more than 1.5 million COVID-19 cases were reported in 11-17 year olds. The vaccine will be administered in the same dosage and time frame as before. They will be given two doses three weeks apart.
Thursday morning, parents were able to make appointments for their children across Kansas and Missouri. Consequently, phone lines at health departments and local hospitals have been ringing off the hook with parents eager to have their kids vaccinated.
Angela Myers the Director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital says, she is loving the excitement.
“It is wonderful news what that means is that the community is really excited that the vaccine is now available down to 12 years of age and that there is a huge interest, and we are going to get as many kids in as possible,” Myers said.
With such heightened demand local health departments are finding new and unique ways to reach the newly eligible group.
“You know some of things that we are talking about are going out to some of the sports fields where we have a lot of teenagers who are playing soccer on the weekends right now, which would be a really great opportunity,“ Elizabeth Holzschuh said, director of epidemiology at the Johnson County Health department.
Fifteen-year-old Lilly Aiken woke up Thursday morning excited because she is eligible to get vaccinated for the first time.
“I think it’s a big deal because we want to have like a normal summer and be able to hang out without worrying about somebody getting sick or their family getting sick.“
Lilly’s mom Neysa said this allows them to see family again.
“We haven’t seen a lot of our family for it’s been over a year now, so we are really excited to be able to kind of get back to some sense of normalcy,” Neysa Aiken said.
All of the county health departments in the Kansas City area are offering the Pfizer vaccine except for Leavenworth County, which only carries Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.