New York approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for teens ages 12 to 15

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ALBANY — New York’s coronavirus vaccine task force has approved the statewide use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to kids ages 12 to 15, starting Thursday.

The late Wednesday decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted earlier in the day to back the FDA’s emergency authorization for the drug for that age group.

“That decision followed a thorough review of data and FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for this vaccine earlier this week,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“To further ensure the safety and effectiveness of New York State’s vaccination program, I directed Dr. Zucker and the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force to conduct a concurrent review. I accepted their recommendation and am authorizing all providers enrolled in the NYS COVID-19 vaccination program to expand eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people in the 12-15 age group, effective immediately,” he said. 

“Children under the age of 18 now account for more than 20 percent of new cases in this country, and vaccine authorization for a younger population will allow the state to continue its tremendous progress towards winning the war against COVID.”

Over 17 million shots of either the one-shot Johnson and Johnson or two-dose Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine have been administered to individuals ages 15 and older in New York. 

That accounts for 50 percent of those 18 and up in the state who have completed at least one shot of the vaccine schedule. 

State health officials and Cuomo have been ramping up inoculations in recent weeks to boost vaccination acceptance following reports that daily have been on the decline compared to prior weeks, offering pop-up vaccine sites in the New York City subway system, on commuter rail lines or at sports stadiums.

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