Several Maryland and Virginia jurisdictions and D.C. will start vaccinating children 12 and up for COVID-19, as federal agencies approve the use of a coronavirus vaccine on younger kids. Here’s what you need to know.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week cleared the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on children 12 to 15 years old, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed suit Wednesday, releasing its recommendations for the use of the COVID-19 vaccine on that age group.
In most cases, adolescents must have consent of a parent or guardian and be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone acting in place of a guardian to be vaccinated. Valid proof of age may be required.
In Virginia, written consent is required if the vaccine is being administered in a school setting, but a parent or guardian is not required to be present.
Check with the facility offering the vaccine about consent and who needs to accompany the adolescent.
The Maryland Department of Health is fully onboard, and is encouraging vaccine providers to make appointments available immediately.
“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety and effectiveness in adolescents aged 12 to 15,” said Maryland Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan.
Sites offering vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds include the 11 mass vaccination sites in Maryland, where no appointment is required, and 300 pharmacies across the state.
In Montgomery County, health officer Dr. Travis Gayles said guardians will not be required to accompany their 12 to 15-year-olds to their vaccination appointments, but will be required to fill out consent forms beforehand.
Baltimore County residents can schedule their appointments at all county-run clinics offering Pfizer doses. Walk-ups are accepted.
In Frederick County, vaccinations will start at the Oak Street Clinic on Thursday, and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to be vaccinated.
Howard County will hold Pfizer clinics by appointment at the health department building on Stanford Boulevard from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday; and at Howard Community College from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 17.
The Virginia Department of Health said all providers in the commonwealth can begin vaccinating those 12 to 15 years old.
“Getting this safe, effective vaccine means that these adolescents won’t have to miss school, sporting events or other activities if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, taking another step toward getting their lives back to normal,” Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccination coordinator, said in a statement.
Some 102,682 children have tested positive for the coronavirus in Virginia, or 15.5% of all cases, a VDH news release said. There are about 425,000 children aged 12 to 15 years old in Virginia.
Virginia ordered a significant supply of the Pfizer vaccine this past week in anticipation of its emergency authorization approval, Avula said Tuesday.
Staring Friday, Virginia’s state-run clinics will offer the vaccine.
The following eight clinics offer walk-in appointments:
- Portsmouth – Sportsplex
- Petersburg – Virginia State University
- Prince William –Gander Mountain
- Suffolk – Hilton Garden Inn
- Fairfax (Tysons) – Tysons Corner Mall
- Virginia Beach –Virginia Beach Convention Center
- Newport News –13771 Warwick Blvd. in the former Sherwood Shopping Center
- Hampton – Hampton Coliseum
People can schedule appointments at the vaccination sites by going to vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). The call center hours will change on Monday, May 17, to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
The City of Alexandria is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to residents ages 12 and older. Parents have a number of options, including existing health department clinics and private providers. A parent or guardian must consent either in advance or at the vaccination site.
Alexandria health officials are also coordinating with Alexandria City Public Schools to host vaccine events for public and private school families. Appointments can be made at George Washington Middle School for May 22 and Francis Hammond Middle School for June 5. Walk-ins will be accepted at the June 5 event at Francis Hammond.
Kids aged 12 to 15 who live or are schooled in Arlington County can receive a vaccine starting Saturday, May 15. Arlington will offer Saturday through Monday clinics over the next two weekends for the age group in anticipation of a surge in demand. A parent or legal guardian will need to bring valid identification when they accompany their child.
Eligible children in Fairfax County will not be able to preregister for a vaccine, and must make an appointment as they are available via the county health department’s scheduling system.
Loudoun County parents and guardians can sign children in the eligible age group up now by making an account and searching for open appointments on the county’s vaccine portal.
Prince William County health chief Dr. Alison Ansher said earlier this week children ages 12 to 15 will be able to receive a shot at multiple locations, including the old Gander Mountain store in Woodbridge.
D.C. Health said residents 12 to 15 years old can start getting vaccinated Thursday. They can get the shots at walk-up sites, hospitals, health centers and pharmacies across the District.
As of Thursday afternoon, Children’s National’s waitlist has reopened.
Families can still register their children for a vaccine by scheduling an appointment with The George Washington University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, One Medical sites and federally-qualified health centers.
A list of vaccination sites in the District can be found on its coronavirus website.
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