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Pfizer vaccine approved for 12 to 15 year olds

The Pfizer vaccine made it past a review for use in youth ages 12 to 15.

In mid-May, the Western State Scientific Safety Review Workgroup unanimously concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for youth ages 12 to 15, according to a release from the governor’s office. The work group confirmed with governor’s of the state of Nevada, as well as California, Oregon and Washington.

“This vaccine is a vital tool in our fight against COVID-19 and the protection it offers our families is invaluable as we look to the future and work to protect the health of our communities,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak in a release. “Thank you to my fellow governors for your expertise and collaboration on this process. We are better and stronger together and residents of all western states can be confident in this review.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds earlier this month, and the Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also affirmed the decision in May.

Nevada, along with Oregon and Washington, joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October 2020. The work group, made up of scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to review future vaccines that move through the federal process.

“I am pleased that the experts in our Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup agree with our federal partners that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine for adolescents as young as 12 years old,” Sisolak said in a statement. “I am excited that we can now open vaccination to this age group and this announcement is an important step to protecting our children as every vaccine given puts our state one step closer to recovery.”

The governors from other western states also reacted to the news.

“This is great news for Oregon children, parents, and families,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said. “Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, young Oregonians and parents can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for youth. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines––I urge you to reach out to your family doctor or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, stated, “The in-depth review from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup reinforces the fact that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and will help young Californians protect themselves from COVID-19. I encourage those who are now eligible to get vaccinated. Expanding vaccine access to teenagers is a critical step in defeating this pandemic and will get us that much closer to safely reopening California’s economy next month.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee states, “We are very pleased that teens can now be vaccinated. We have seen an increase in cases among this age group, and we can now make sure they are protected with the vaccine. This will further help us bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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