Arizona-run vaccination sites in the Phoenix area, Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff are ready to begin vaccinating children 12 to 15 years old on Thursday, May 13, following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and free ‒ and they’re our best shot to end this pandemic and return to the things we’ve missed. We’re moving quickly to empower parents and guardians to get this protection for their children,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “Millions of Arizonans have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Soon, kids ages 12 to 15 years old will now be eligible to get vaccinated and state vaccine sites are ready to serve them.”
Arizona has nearly 400,000 youths ages 12 to 15. To date, 5,383,508 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 3,068,234 individuals, with 2,517,206 now fully vaccinated.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for age 12-15 on Monday. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC are expected to follow suit on Wednesday with their recommendation to vaccinate those 12 and older. The recommendation applies only to the Pfizer vaccine, which now is available to ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome these young people to state-run mass-vaccination sites starting Thursday,” said Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Dr. Cara Christ. “These safe, highly effective, and free vaccines are our best shot at returning to normal, and having more vaccinated individuals gives COVID-19 less of a chance of spreading.”
Once CDC makes the recommendation, parents and guardians may bring those ages 12 to 15 to state vaccination sites starting Thursday, which also is the day when many pharmacies and other providers with Pfizer plan to begin vaccinating this age group. The ADHS vaccine finder available at azdhs.gov/FindVaccine allows visitors to filter locations by vaccine type.
ADHS is coordinating with rural counties that until now have received only the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines so 12- to 15-year-olds can get vaccinated.
A parent or guardian must accompany the child and sign a consent form in person and includes an attestation that the child is at least 12 years old. No identification is required for the child. Place of permanent residence isn’t a factor in whether someone can be vaccinated at a state site.
Parents and guardians also will be able to register those ages 12 to 15 for vaccination starting at 8 a.m. Thursday by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.gov or calling 844-542-8201 to be connected with someone who can assist in English or Spanish. Appointments aren’t required for state-run sites, but they are a way to reduce the length of a visit because registration is taken care of in advance.
COVID-19 continues to infect and cause death in Arizonans, though case numbers, percent positivity, intensive care unit use, and in-patient hospital bed use have been relatively stable since March. Today, ADHS added 683 cases and 19 deaths to its COVID-19 data dashboard.
Many sites across Arizona now offer COVID-19 vaccines, including grocery store pharmacies and standalone pharmacies. Doctors’ offices and other neighborhood healthcare providers can order vaccine directly from the CDC.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination, please visit azdhs.gov/COVID19Vaccines.