Everyone 12 and older eligible to receive Pfizer vaccine in WA state

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Matt Rourke

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 12 and older following recommendations that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for 12 to 15-year-olds.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup voted on Wednesday night to recommend it for immediate use.

“Expanding eligibility to this younger age group protects our children and gives families peace of mind. It is the best step we can take as parents to ensure our kids remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with friends, and take part in sports and extracurricular activities,” said Umair A. Shah. MD, MPH. “Research continues to show this vaccine is safe and I am thrilled it is now an option for parents and their young teens.”

The two-dose vaccine has been authorized for people 16 and older since December. In March, Pfizer announced its vaccine trial found it to be safe and 100% effective for kids as young as 12. The company reported the vaccine produced an antibody response in children that exceeded those in earlier trials of older teens and young adults.

Although fewer children have been sick with the virus compared to adults, children can be infected with it, get sick, and spread it to others. Most children with COVID-19 have either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill and may require hospitalization, intensive care or a ventilator to help them breath. In rare cases, children can die.

Side effects of the vaccine generally mirror those experienced by adults, which may include sore arm, fatigue or headache. Families that have questions about the vaccine are encouraged to reach out to their child’s health care provider to determine the best option for them.

RELATED: CDC approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year-olds