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Younger Oregonians could receive COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine as early as this week

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The Oregon State Digest
The Oregon State Digest
 2021-05-11

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By Emily Scarvie

(SALEM, Ore.) Though the Food and Drug Administration gave the green light Monday for teens ages 12 to 15 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Oregon health officials are still waiting on additional approvals from the federal government before the vaccine can be administered, The Oregonian reports.

Oregonians ages 12 to 15 could become eligible to receive Pfizer vaccinations as early as this week, and the Oregon Convention Center, Portland International Airport and Hillsboro Stadium are expected to serve as vaccine clinics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices still needs to approve the younger age group’s eligibility. The data will then be reviewed by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. Guidance will then be issued to participating states like Oregon.

An announcement is expected Wednesday, as that’s when both the vaccine advisory panel and the western review group are meeting.

Excited about the news, some parents showed up with their children at the convention center on Monday hoping to get them a vaccination, according to Debbie Karman, a spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente, which is helping run the site.

According to Karman, the site won’t be able to administer shots to 12- to 15-year-olds until both the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority grant approval. Health officials plan to make an announcement when this happens.

After testing over 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, the FDA determined that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for younger teens. The agency said none of the vaccinated adolescents contracted COVID-19, compared to 16 among kids given placebo shots. It also found that kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than prior studies had measured in young adults.

The adolescents in the study received the same dose as adults and had similar side effects, including sore arms and flu-like symptoms.

Moderna recently announced that preliminary results from its study in younger teens show strong protection against the virus and minor side effects. Novavax, another U.S. company, just began its study in 12- to 17-year-olds as well.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have also begun studies on children ages 6 months to 11 years.

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