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COVID-19: NY Could Begin Administering Vaccine To Children 12 To 15 This Week

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Photo Credit: flickr/US Secretary of Defense
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a COVID-19 briefing at the Javits Center on Tuesday, May 11. Photo Credit: ny.gov

Children in New York between the ages of 12 and 15 may soon become the latest group eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if their parents give their approval.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the Pfizer double-dose vaccine could be authorized for use among children in New York as soon as Thursday, May 13 if the state health commissioner and his Clinical Advisory Task Force recommend it.

Cuomo said that if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the green light following a scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 12, as expected, it will go to the state’s advisory board, similar to when the vaccine was first rolled out.

The news comes after the FDA expanded emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 to 15 earlier this week following a months-long trial of more than 2,200 children that found the vaccine was 100 percent effective.

“Once the federal government acts, we will have a second approval by the state,” Cuomo said during a COVID-19 briefing. “This started early on when people were dubious about the federal approval process, so we said that we’ll have our own approval process.

“Once the federal government meets, the state board will meet. And if the federal government approves it, I would expect the state would approve it, and then we’ll change our protocols and start to reach out to that population.”

Cuomo said that once it is approved, it will be up to parents’ discretion about whether or not to have their children vaccinated. New Yorkers between the ages of 12 and 15 who seek to be inoculated will have to be accompanied by an adult when receiving their shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Before returning to school in the fall, Cuomo said that he doesn’t expect the state to mandate that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We went through this with the measles, and I understand the opposition to vaccines by parents, even if I don’t see it backed up by science or data,” Cuomo said. “You can’t mandate the vaccine because they are all emergency use authorization, so a state cannot mandate a vaccine that is authorized only for emergency use.

"This is an encouraging step in the ongoing battle against this global pandemic,” the governor added. “The COVID-19 vaccine is our best weapon to defeat the virus, and we’re taking all the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety and effectiveness of our vaccine program.”

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