Health Department will begin vaccinating kids 12 to 15 Wednesday

The Stanly County Health Department is scheduling vaccination appointments for children ages 12 to 15. It will begin vaccinating the age group starting Wednesday.

This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for use in 12- to 15-year-olds. On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the vaccine.

“We’ve been having phone calls all week on our hotline as soon as news stations began talking about it being a possibility,” said Wendy Growcock, public health specialist with the health department. “I think we’ve got some good interest.”

The health department has also been working with Stanly County Schools about bringing a vaccine clinic to its summer enrichment program, which will begin in mid-June.

Having more kids vaccinated will help the school system “move into a more regular schedule for the upcoming school year,” Growcock said.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for the recipient. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine in the United States available to people under the age of 18. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to anyone age 18 and older.

Even though the health department has not been receiving any new doses over the last few weeks, due to a lack of demand, Health Director David Jenkins said it still has plenty of Pfizer on hand to begin vaccinating young kids.

“We’ll have more than enough (Pfizer doses) to cover for several weeks now,” Jenkins said.

Certain CVS and Walgreens locations will also offer the Pfizer vaccine to kids 12 and up. A parent or legal guardian must complete registration for minors under the age of 13 and they must be present at appointments for all minors, according to Walgreens. Children must also be accompanied by an adult, according to CVS.

As of Thursday, more than a quarter of all residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 23 percent are fully vaccinated, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The county health department has specifically administered 12,848 first doses and 11,134 second doses.

To sign up for a vaccination appointment with the health department, call the Covid hotline at 980-323-0205.