Indiana state health officials said they expect federal regulators to grant emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. The state expects to open eligibility to residents of the same age when authorization is granted.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee was scheduled to vote May 12 on whether to authorize use of the vaccine on the age group. State health officials expect the committee to approve the vaccines use as soon as Wednesday afternoon.
“Once that happens, we will update our website at ourshot.in.gov, so that as of 8 a.m. (Thursday) parents can register their child who is age 12 or older for an appointment,” Indiana State Dept. of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said during a May 12 virtual press briefing.
Children 12 to 15 will need to have a parent or guardian sign a consent form to receive the vaccine. An adult will also need to accompany anyone in the age group when they receive their shots. Vaccine appointments can be made at ourshot.in.gov or by calling 2-1-1.
Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the state has “no plans to mandate the vaccine for anyone.”
Starting May 13, Weaver said the state would have a vaccination clinic in every county that offers the Pfizer vaccine, ensuring every county can vaccinate the age group when authorization is granted.
“Expanding the vaccine to younger Hoosiers will help our children start getting back to the activities they love,” Weaver said. “It will help them to have a summer that is focused on quality time and not quarantine. It will also ensure that the next school year looks different for our students, teachers and staff. We all want that normalcy, and the best way to get there is to increase the number of people who are fully vaccinated.”
Data from clinical trials on children ages 2 to 11 could come as soon as September, Box said, meaning a vote to authorize the vaccine for the age group could happen in the fall.