The Indian Health Service announced that facilities will now begin vaccinating youth, who are 12 years old and up, with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. IHS’s announcement follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanding the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for adolescents age 12 through 15 years in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and increase community immunity.
Vaccinating Native youth means they can return to social activities safely and provides parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their children are protected. This is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IHS has ample supply of Pfizer vaccine and are working with IHS Area Offices and federal, Tribal, and urban sites to distribute the vaccine that has unique cold-chain requirements. If your site receives vaccines from the IHS and needs Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, contact the Vaccine Point of Contact in your Area.
IHS is encouraging sites across the Indian health system to run patient panels, message to parents and patients, schedule clinics to accommodate school schedules, and coordinate with pediatric providers and staff. IHS is also encouraging federal, Tribal, and urban sites to think about incorporating family vaccination clinics into COVID-19 vaccine activities, where all members of a family can get up to date on any vaccines that are due. If an adolescent is behind on routinely recommended vaccines due to the pandemic or for other reasons, now would be a good time to work with them to make sure they get caught up.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be approved for children 12 years and up. ACIP also recommended that other routine childhood or adolescent vaccines can be administered at the same time without waiting two weeks between vaccine administrations. More information on COVID-19 vaccinations for children and teens is available on the CDC website.
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