'Going to be very easy': Health officials explain what to expect for vaccinating 12-15 year-olds

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Here's what to expect for vaccinating 12-15 year-olds
As vaccine appointments for 12 to 15 year-olds are expected to open this week in California, health officials and Bay Area communities are busy preparing.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Vaccine appointments for 12 to 15 year-olds are expected to open this week in California. Health officials and Bay Area communities are preparing to vaccinate the youngest age group yet.

In Marin County, 87% of people have at least one vaccine dose. With eligibility expanding to 12-15 year-olds, health officials are very optimistic.

RELATED: FDA grants emergency use authorization for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12-15

"Marin County has the highest vaccination rate in the state of California. I think we have a shot at community immunity," said Marin County health officer, Dr. Matt Willis.

For the first time in 14 months, Marin officials were able to sit in a room together to host a town hall for families with questions about vaccinating their teens.

"We want to help you find vaccinations; it's going to be very easy. It's not how it was in the beginning when vaccines were very, very scarce," said Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin's deputy public health officer.

After the CDC's Committee on Immunization Practices and Western States Scientific Advisory Group meet on Wednesday, California is expected to green light Pfizer's vaccine for 12-15 year-olds. Then on Thursday, the state's MyTurn site will open for appointments for the group.

VIDEO: Many Bay Area 12-15 year-olds eager for Pfizer's COVID vaccine after FDA EUA

On Monday, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID vaccine to include the youngest age group yet - 12 to 15 year-olds. Many teens, say they are ready.

During the town hall, Kaiser Permanente infectious disease doctor, Shilpa Marwaha, explained that Pfizer's adolescent trial data showed that none of the vaccinated children tested positive for COVID and that side effects were short lived and consistent with adult reactions, "Swelling, redness and pain at the injection site, fever, headache, tiredness, muscle aches and pains, chills and nausea."

Marin County has planned ten family vaccine clinics on school campuses starting Friday. And on Tuesday night, 1,000 pediatric providers took part in a webinar with California's Department of Public Health to learn how they can receive and store Pfizer's vaccine for their patients.

VACCINE TRACKER: Here's how CA is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

"We're working to purchase ultra-cold freezers for those that need it, we're working with organizations that can break down the larger shipments into smaller amounts to provide for those clinics. And really working with our local health departments, schools, other community partners to provide vaccines equitably to our underserved youth," said state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan, m.d., during a teleconference.

The dosage for 12-15 year-olds is expected to be the same as for adults.

Kids under 18 do need consent from a guardian to be vaccinated. CDPH is working on electronic permission during registration, as well as the ability to provide a note or even facetime, if a parent can't be on site for a vaccine.

Here's a tentative schedule for mobile vaccination clinics at school sites in Marin County. The dates and time reflect first-dose clinics.

  • May 14, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Tomales HS (+Tomales Elmentary, West Marin
  • May 15, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at San Rafael HS & Madrone HS
  • May 15, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Miller Creek Middle Schools
  • May 17, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. at Davidson
  • May 17, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. at San Jose Middle School (Curative POD)
  • May 18, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. at MCS/ Phoenix/ Special Education (Sensory)
  • May 19, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. at Venetia Valley
  • May 20, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. includes Bayside MLK & Willow Creek (at Bayside)
  • May 21, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. at Hamilton

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