BOSTON (AP) — Children ages 12 through 15 were set to begin receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots in Massachusetts on Thursday.
The state began allowing shots into the arms of the 400,000 Massachusetts kids who fall into that age category after an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Wednesday to recommend Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in kids ages 12 to 15.
The young people can book appointments or use walk-up access to get the shot, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.
The administration is also seeking input from pediatricians and primary care physicians and said regional health collaboratives will also play a role in delivering shots to young people, Baker said.
CVS pharmacies are among the locations offering the vaccine shots to young people. Parental or legal guardian consent is required, and children must be accompanied by an adult.
“Offering vaccinations to younger populations at thousands of locations across the country brings us one step closer to prevailing over the pandemic,” said Karen Lynch, President and Chief Executive officer of CVS Health.
Other pharmacies including Walgreens are also offering shots to young people.
Pfizer isn't the only company to seek a lower age limit for its vaccine. Moderna recently said preliminary results from its study in 12- to 17-year-olds show strong protection and no serious side effects — data the FDA will need to scrutinize.
“STOP THE SPREAD” TESTING
A program providing free COVID-19 testing in 35 locations across the state is being extended through Sept. 30.
The “Stop the Spread” COVID-19 initiative was initially set to close on June 30.
Testing is one of the key public health tools -- in addition to contact tracing, complying with public health mitigation measures and getting vaccinated -- to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, state health officials said.
More than two millions tests have been conducted at the locations.
All told more than 22 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted statewide at all testing providers since the start of the pandemic.
WORCESTER SCHOOLS' VACCINE CLINICS
The Worcester Public Schools is planning to hold walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics for middle and high school students.
Middle school students will need to have a parent or guardian accompany them to the clinics, according to school Superintendent Maureen Binienda, MassLive reported.
Students will need to bring forms to the clinic. Family members age 12 and older can also get vaccinated at the middle school clinics.
The high school clinics are only for high school students. Students will need to bring forms to the school nurse.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have is being allowed for children aged 12 to 15.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by more than 600 Thursday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by nine.
The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,366 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to about 655,000.
The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.
There were fewer than 400 people reported hospitalized Thursday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 110 in intensive care units.
The average age of those hospitalized was 55. There were an estimated 16,000 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.
More than 6.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts, including more than 3.8 million first doses and more than 2.8 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
There have been about 228,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.
More than 3 million people have been fully immunized.