FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced state vaccination sites can administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to Kentuckians age 12 to 15 starting Thursday.
The announcement was made on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization, which supports use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine among those 12 years of age and older.
“Starting tomorrow, more Kentuckians will have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and further protect themselves and those around them from this dangerous virus,” said Gov. Beshear in a press release. “We’ve seen new COVID-19 cases decline as more and more vaccines have been administered. Now, many Kentucky children and young teens have a chance to roll up their sleeves and become heroes for their communities by receiving their shot of hope.”
According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 231,000 Kentuckians are in the 12-15 age group, which makes up roughly 5% of the state’s total population.
Among the three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines that are available, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only option for individuals 12-17 years of age. Consent from a parent or legal guardian is required in order for the vaccine to be administered to those who are 12-17 in Kentucky.
During Monday’s briefing on COVID-19, Gov. Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, announced the state’s transition to a federal website that allows Kentuckians to search nearby vaccination sites and filter the search by vaccine brand: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and/or Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
“COVID-19 vaccines are readily available and we are shifting to focus on delivering vaccines as close to individuals as possible to provide easy access for Kentuckians in their communities,” said Dr. Stack. “Over the next couple of weeks, we will have an added focus on broadening the distribution of Pfizer to vaccination sites such as primary care and pediatric offices.”
Dr. Stack added that the state is now reaching people who might have more questions about getting vaccinated. The Kentucky Department for Public Health emphasized that:
- Children are less likely to develop severe illness from COVID-19, however, they can spread COVID-19 to others even when they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Therefore, vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds will help protect more vulnerable adults by reducing their likelihood of exposure from infected family members. This is important for vulnerable adults even if they are immunized.
- The Pfizer vaccine has proven very highly effective at preventing COVID-19 cases in 12- to 15-year-olds.
- Children represent a growing proportion of reported cases, and clusters of cases have occurred among adolescents in schools and on sports teams.
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after an exposure to someone with COVID-19, which minimizes disruption to the individual and their family.