The Food and Drug Administration earlier this week expanded the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to include children between ages of 12 and 15.

Lincoln Trail District Health De­part­ment vaccination efforts for 12–15-year old’s will be guided by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Kentucky Department of Public Health recommendations. It is expected that guidance from these agencies should be available in the next one to two weeks, according to a district news release.

The health district already is working with schools to schedule tentative dates for possible vaccination clinics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, from March 2020 to April 2021, about 1.5 million children aged 11-17 had contracted COVID-19. While children are less likely to suffer severe illness related to COVID-19, children with underlying medical conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease, according to the CDC.

In addition, children can spread COVID-19 to others even if they are asymptomatic. Therefore, vaccinating the 12 to 15 age group will be critical in helping to achieve adequate levels of herd immunity that will slow the spread of the virus, according to the news release.

The release added, “Parents and guardians can be assured that the use of the Pfizer vaccine in this age group had to meet the same rigorous testing and review standards required for all vaccines. The vaccine is given as a two-dose series, three weeks apart, utilizing the current dosage for those 16 and older.”

The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever, and joint pain, lasting up to three days. However, these symptoms were reported more often after the second dose.

For updated vaccine information, go to ltdhd.org.

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