BATON ROUGE – Louisianans ages 12 and up can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) action late Wednesday formally recommending the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for this age group. Prior to this announcement, the Pfizer vaccine was recommended and authorized for people no younger than 16 years of age.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group earlier this week. On Wednesday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices overwhelmingly recommended, and the CDC approved, this use of the vaccine, based on clinical trial data that found it to be safe and effective.
State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said the vaccine has now passed the same safety benchmarks for this younger age group as it did for those ages 16 and older. The Louisiana Department of Health on Thursday morning alerted vaccine providers that they can begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to people ages 12 and up. This updated guidance goes into effect immediately.
“We have the utmost confidence in the FDA and CDC’s rigorous safety and efficacy review and, after looking at the data ourselves, are excited to now expand eligibility for more young people in Louisiana,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana State Health Officer. “Today is a good day, and it means more families have the ability to protect their children and their families and enjoy summer with confidence.”
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has joined state and national health officials and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in urging young people, their parents, and all adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them.
“As a parent, I know that decisions regarding the health of our children are among the most important ones we make. I hope all parents of adolescents will consider protecting their children with the COVID-19 vaccine and, if they have questions, that they ask their child’s pediatrician or another trusted medical professional,” said Governor Edwards. “Today we enter a new phase in our fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, with the expansion of the Pfizer vaccine to 12-15-year-olds. This vaccine is proven to be safe and effective and already we’ve seen a major decrease in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in older people who are fully vaccinated.”
There are currently about 1,500 locations in Louisiana that offer the COVID-19 vaccine. To get your questions answered, find a provider or event near you, or get your appointment scheduled, just call our COVID Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774.
For a person younger than age 18, parental/caregiver consent is needed to get the shot. To make it easy, the Louisiana Department of Health has developed a consent form that can be found on its website at: covidvaccine.la.gov
The guidance issued by the CDC states the vaccines are safe and effective for people between the ages of 12 and 16. In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine has demonstrated 100 percent effectiveness in children as young as 12 years old with minimal side effects.
The reviews by the FDA and the CDC concluded that people ages 12 and above will not have side effects that are different from people who have already been vaccinated. These side effects are mild and include moderate pain or swelling in the arm where the shot was given, fever, chills, tiredness and/or headaches. These are normal side effects that usually go away within a couple of days.