May 14—The Texas Department of State Health Services has notified vaccine providers they should begin to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to youth from 12 to 15 years old, in line with federal guidance.
The notice comes after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for adolescents Monday, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Wednesday recommended it for that age group.
"While children are less likely than adults to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, they can be infected with the virus and spread infection in their homes and communities," said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and chair of the state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, in a letter to vaccine providers.
"DSHS believes that promptly vaccinating the adolescents in this age group is another valuable tool that will help end the COVID-19 pandemic and have a direct and positive effect on schools being open for classroom learning."
DSHS reminds providers that parental consent is required for the vaccination of children in this age group. Consent may be given orally or in writing; the parent or guardian does not need to be present for the adolescent to be vaccinated, unless required by the vaccine provider.
At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people ages 12 to 17, and it is the same vaccine already widely available across the state for use in adults. Youth and parents should contact providers in their area to ensure they are offering the Pfizer vaccine before making an appointment or attending a walk-up vaccine clinic. Tools for locating vaccine providers are available at covidvaccine.texas.gov or vacunacovid.texas.gov.
Texas has given nearly 19.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. About 52% of residents 16 years old and older have received at least one dose, and 40% are now fully vaccinated.