Michigan health department recommends Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recommending providers start vaccinating adolescents 12 to 15 years old after a federal committee on Wednesday endorsed using Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s great news to have a safe and effective vaccine available to protect younger Michiganders as we work to eliminate COVID-19 once and for all,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud that the Pfizer vaccine, which is now approved to protect our children, is manufactured right here in Michigan. As a parent, I encourage all parents with children in this group to have a conversation with your family doctor about the vaccine as soon as possible."

A dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is prepared in a syringe.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also said the COVID vaccine can be administered at the same time or on the same day as other vaccines for children and adults.

The guidance follows authorization of the vaccine for the age group by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an expanded emergency use authorization.

The health department plans to issue guidance Thursday on using the vaccine, and providers are expected to begin immediately, officials said.

More:Detroit to offer Pfizer vaccine to teens following CDC approval

"Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in the fight against COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “This allows for younger Michiganders to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. I urge all families to learn more and make an appointment for their tween as soon as possible to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

The shots for children are expected to allow them to safely attend summer camps and return to classrooms next school year, the CDC said.

Appointments and walk-ins are available Thursday at the Ford Field vaccination site in downtown Detroit through May 17. Text EndCOVID to 75049 or call (888) 535-6136 (press 1).

Minors 12-17 years of age will need a parent or legal guardian to give written consent for the vaccination.

CVS Health said it was scheduling vaccine appointments for those ages 12 to 15 at its nearly 70 pharmacies across Michigan starting Thursday.

“Parental or legal guardian consent is required, and children must be accompanied by an adult,” CVS regional spokesman Charlie Rice-Minoso said in a statement Wednesday.

Patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment online at cvs.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app. Walk-ins also will be accepted, he said.