As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children ages 12-15, many Bay Area counties and school districts already had made preparations to give out those shots.
Once the CDC advisory panel finished its review and endorsement of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group Wednesday, the Western States Safety Review group later in the day gave the green light for California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington.
Parents in some parts of the Bay Area were scrambling to make appointments for their children while in other areas they may just be showing up for a shot Thursday morning.
Santa Clara County health leaders said vaccines are now available to 12- to 15-year-olds at all mass vaccination sites and at all community-based mobile sites. The county is also working with pediatricians throughout the county to ensure they are prepared to vaccinate their patients.
Vaccine appointments are now available for those in the 12-15 age group in Contra Costa County. Health leaders also say they are taking the vaccine to a handful of school sites to meet children and teens where they are by May 18.
San Francisco health leaders say they’ve been working for weeks on a plan for vaccinating kids and will work with San Francisco Unified to streamline the process at schools. The county said they expect appointments to be made available at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Health officials in Marin County said they’ll be ready to vaccinate at least half of the 1,400 kids in the 12-15 age group within a week of authorization.
UCSF Infectious Disease Dr. Lillian Brown said vaccinating the teens will help protect households and communities.
“It is a way to protect themselves for their own health and we anticipate it will decrease cases in schools even further,” she said.
Some parents asked questions about safety and the rapid approval of the vaccine.
UCSF Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Lee Atkinson-McEvoy reassured them it was carefully studied.
“I want to clarify that the emergency use authorization does involve a careful attention to safety, it does not mean corners were cut or we don't look at things,” she said.
Some Bay Area parents said they plan to sign their kids up.
Parents we talked to tonight say they plan to sign their kids up.
“I'm very happy for my teenager, she wants to go out and have some fun with her friends, it's been tough on her staying at home,” said parent Monica Licea of San Francisco.
Shahin Khaghani-Lutz, 12, says he's ready to roll up his sleeve and get back to seeing people he loves.
“I get to see my grandma a little bit more, and my cousins,” he said.
The state's MyTurn website says appointments can be made starting Thursday.