Washington state expands use of Pfizer vaccine for anyone 12 years old and older

Anyone 12-year-old and older is now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

In a release from the Washington state Department of Health, officials announced the vaccine eligibility to include the Pfizer vaccine, stating it’s "safe and extremely effective for 12 to 15-year-olds." 

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup voted Wednesday to recommend immediate use of the vaccine. The Workgroup is composed of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health. 

Gov. Jay Inslee released the following statement upon the workgroup's verdict Wednesday:

"We are very pleased that teens can now be vaccinated. We have seen an increase in cases among this age group, and we can now make sure they are protected with the vaccine. This will further help us bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The announcement comes after Seattle’s Lumen Field started administering vaccines for children 12- to 15-years-old on Wednesday, May 12.

RELATED: Washington parents eagerly await final approval of Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

"Expanding eligibility to this younger age group protects our children and gives families peace of mind. It is the best step we can take as parents to ensure our kids remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with friends, and take part in sports and extracurricular activities," said Umair A. Shah. MD, MPH. "Research continues to show this vaccine is safe and I am thrilled it is now an option for parents and their young teens."

On Monday, the FDA granted emergency use nationwide of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-year-olds and older. The vaccine follows a two-dose regime, same as the Moderna vaccine. 

RELATED: Washington not yet weighing school COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Pfizer says trial studies of vaccinations were 100 percent effective in kids as young as 12-years-old, stating the antibody response was greater in kids than in older teens and young adults. DOH says the Pfizer vaccine is the only one currently approved for recipients under 16-years-old. 

In late March, Gov. Jay Inslee approved anyone 16-years-old and older to be eligible in the state to receive their vaccinations starting April 15th.

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