PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's seven state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites are poised to begin offering shots to children ages 12 to 15 starting Thursday, public health officials announced Tuesday.
The Department of Health Services made its announcement a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use authorization for the administration of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the 12 to 15 age group.
The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to follow suit on Wednesday with their own recommendation to vaccinate those 12 and older, the state agency said.
Arizona has four state-run vaccination sites in metro Phoenix, plus one each in Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma.
“We’re moving quickly to empower parents and guardians to get this protection for their children,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement.
Arizona has nearly 400,000 youths ages 12 to 15, representing nearly 5.6% of the state's population.
So far, 5,383,508 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 3,068,234 individuals, or 42.7% of the state's population, with 2,517,206 now fully vaccinated, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard.
The expanded availability applies only to the Pfizer vaccine, which until now has been only available to ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
Appointments for vaccinations can be made online starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, the Department of Health Services said, adding that appointments aren't necessary but they help save time at the site by taking care of registration beforehand,
The department said a parent or guardian must accompany the child and sign a consent form in person, including an attestation that the child is at least 12 years old. No identification is required for the child, the department said.
In another development, the state on Tuesday reported 683 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 19 more deaths amid a slowing of the rate of additional cases.
The pandemic totals rose to 870,155 cases and 17,428 deaths, according to the dashboard.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations hovered below 600 for the third straight day, with 577 patients occupying inpatient beds as of Monday, after ranging above 600 for nearly two weeks, according to the dashboard.
Arizona's seven-day rolling average of daily new cases dropped over the past two weeks, declining from 719 on April 25 to 699 on Sunday, while the rolling average of daily deaths fell from 16 to 9 during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University data.