Arizona Department of Health Services officials said they are ready to administer vaccines to the state’s 400,000 children in that age group at state-run vaccination sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free—and they’re our best shot to end this pandemic and return to the things we’ve missed,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement released through ADHS. “We’re moving quickly to empower parents and guardians to get this protection for their children.”
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15 on May 10. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the CDC are expected to follow suit May 12 with their recommendation to vaccinate those 12 years old and older.
Once the CDC makes the recommendation, parents and guardians may bring those ages 12 to 15 to state vaccination sites starting May 13.
Many pharmacies and other providers with Pfizer also plan to begin vaccinating this age group that day. The ADHS vaccine finder available at azdhs.gov/FindVaccine allows visitors to filter locations by vaccine type.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome these young people to state-run mass-vaccination sites starting Thursday,” ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ said in a statement. “These safe, highly effective, and free vaccines are our best shot at returning to normal, and having more vaccinated individuals gives COVID-19 less of a chance of spreading.”
The recommendation applies only to the Pfizer vaccine, which now is available to ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
A parent or guardian must accompany the child and sign a consent form in person and include an attestation that the child is at least 12 years old. No identification is required for the child. Place of permanent residence isn’t a factor in whether someone can be vaccinated at a state site.
Parents and guardians also will be able to register those ages 12 to 15 for vaccination starting at 8 a.m. May 13 by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.gov or calling 844-542-8201 to be connected with someone who can assist in English or Spanish. Appointments are not required for state-run sites but can reduce the length of a visit because registration is taken care of in advance.
Through May 11 in Arizona, 5.38 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 3.07 million individuals, with 2.52 million now fully vaccinated.