Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday announced Alabama has expanded COVID-19 vaccinations to those aged 12 to 15, following the Pfizer vaccine’s federal approval for use in younger children on Wednesday.
“This is great and welcome news that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be available for Alabamians 12 and up, offering another option for families in our state as we get back into full gear,” Ivey said in a statement.
“We have seen good success so far with these safe and effective vaccines, and I encourage parents and children to consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions,” Ivey said. “The vaccine is our ticket back to normal, and I continue to feel optimistic and hopeful in the positive direction we are moving in as a state.”
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously on Wednesday to allow the Pfizer vaccine to be used in those 12 and up. The FDA had approved the vaccine for that age group on Monday.
Those 18 and older are able to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the two-shot Moderna vaccine. Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for those aged 12 to 17.
“We encourage the vaccination of adolescents ages 12 and older to get the protection offered by the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris in a statement. “This vaccine will be available at private providers and other sites which have Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available.”
Dr. Suzanne Judd, a professor in UAB’s School of Public Health Professor who has researched COVID-19 and herd immunity, told APR recently that young people make up a critical portion of the state’s population who haven’t yet been vaccinated. Doing so will make a return to school next year safer and help prevent outbreaks in their homes and communities, she explained.
“That is the most important thing, is that we get 16- to 30-year-olds vaccinated,” Judd said. “ In fact, I think we need to get 90 percent of them vaccinated, which is very normal for other vaccination campaigns.”