The Federal Drug Administration expanded the Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine May 10 to allow for the vaccination of adolescents between the ages 12 and 15 years old. Previously, people had to have been at least 16 years old.

“The FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a news release. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic."

Woodcock also said the FDA made a rigorous and thorough review of all available data before expanding the use of the Pfizer vaccine.

Hays County released a news release of its own May 13 to reiterate the expanded eligibility for the vaccine for residents by local vaccine providers.

Hays County Local Health Department Director Tammy Crumley said in the release the vaccine must be administered in accordance with the EUA. Parents, guardians and caregivers must be provided with a fact sheet prior to the vaccination of a minor, and Texas requires parental consent for this age group, the county said.

“Having a parent or guardian present ensures we receive necessary and accurate medical information regarding the minor,” Crumley said.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still only authorized for people age 18 and older.

Upcoming Hays County vaccine clinics

Hays County said most of its clinics, which no longer require an appointment and are free, use the Pfizer vaccine.

On May 15, the Wimberley Community Center at 14068 Ranch Road 12, will host one such clinic from 8 a.m.-noon.

Another clinic, scheduled for May 18-19, will be held at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park at 1042 Event Center Dr., between 10 a.m.-5:45 p.m.

COVID-19 cases in Hays County

Hays County reported 49 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases May 14, bringing the county's total to 18,683. An additional 2,046 probable cases have been reported so far.

Of these, there were 329 active cases, and there have been 622 active cases in the past 21 days. A total of 18,109 Hays County residents have recovered from the coronavirus.

There were also four new hospitalizations and five hospital discharges, reducing the county's hospitalization level to 15 patients. A total of 873 coronavirus hospitalizations have been reported by the county to date.

An additional two deaths related to COVID-19 were reported May 14, increasing the total to 245 across the county. The most recent deaths were a Buda man in his 50s and a San Marcos man in his 60s.