COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Boone Health is among the first Mid-Missouri health care providers to publicize plans for a coronavirus shot clinic for people ages 12-15.
Boone said Tuesday that it will host the clinic on Thursday and Saturday. The hospital made the announcement less than a day after the FDA granted Pfizer and BioNTech emergency authorization to use their two-shot coronavirus vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds. The FDA authorization is the first granted for people less than 16 years old.
The clinic will be located inside the Columbia Mall and has appointments available online, Boone Health said in a news release.
Boone Health requires anyone under the age of 18 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to be vaccinated.
Health care providers say they still need permission from the state to start giving the shot to children age 12-15.
Dr. Robin Blount with Boone Health said Tuesday that she is confident Boone will get approval from the state to administer the vaccine to younger patients.
"The state has to give us the okay but we don't anticipate them not, when they lowered it to sixteen for Pfizer they came through the very next day and said we are okay with it," Blount said.
Dr. Blount says Boone Health is currently making some adjustments to the syringe needle and to the consent forms.
"For this age group they are recommending a shorter needle because their bodies are not as big for a lot of the kids," Blount said.
Laura Morris family Physician at MU Health said vaccinating the younger population is important because they makeup 20 percent of the population and without them vaccinated, it'll be harder to get Herd Immunity.
"We know without being able to vaccinate teens or even younger children we are not going to be able to approach the herd immunity thresholds that we've heard about," Morris said.
Columbia Public Schools and officials with the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said Monday that they're planning coronavirus vaccine clinics for the 12-15-year-old age group. CPS and the health department have already held clinics for older high school students who were already eligible for the shot.
Columbia Public Schools are waiting for extra approval from the state before they starting vaccinating the 12- to 15-year-olds.
MU Health Care and the Columbia/Boone County Health Departments are waiting for approval from the CDC to solidify clinic plans. That approval could come as soon as Wednesday when an independent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee is scheduled to meet.
MU Health plans to hold a clinic for children on May 20 if given approval from the state.
According to the FDA, about 1.5 million COVID-19 cases have been identified in people 11-17 years old. The FDA says the Pfizer vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the 12-15 age group.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a news release that vaccinating adolescents ages 12 through 15 is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic," Woodcock said.
Woodcock said parents can be assured that the agency has thoroughly reviewed all available data to make sure the vaccine is safe for children ages 12-15.