Today, the Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 to 15 years old. Currently, individuals 16 and older are eligible to get vaccinated in San Francisco. To date, more than 74% percent of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with 56% having completed their vaccination series.
On May 12, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will review the FDA authorization and issue recommendations for this new eligible group at which point the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will assess the findings and issue their recommendations. Once the review process is complete, San Francisco will begin administration of the vaccine.
“This is great news for our City. The fact that vaccinations will support a return to in-person learning in the fall is further incentive,” said Mayor London Breed. “We know that outbreaks among our young people typically occur because someone in the household contracted COVID-19. For this reason, it’s important that everyone who is eligible in a household get the vaccine as soon as possible so that we can look forward to resuming a normal school schedule and the extracurricular activities and supportive childcare we’ve all missed this past year. Get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family and your school.”
“Today’s news that the FDA has authorized emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for youth ages 12 to 15 is a wonderful and hopeful development in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Grant Colfax. “Pfizer, the only vaccine authorized for this age group, is very effective in teenagers with studies showing that it prevents up to 100% of COVID-19 infections and produces protective antibodies. The science is clear; the more people we vaccinate, the more we drive down case rates and minimize the risk of transmission. Vaccines truly are our ticket out of this pandemic.”
“Through the course of this pandemic we have seen young people miss out. Going to birthday parties, celebrating graduations or even just hanging out with their friends has been challenging and our youth have suffered as a result,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. “Having access to the vaccine will help teens see each other face to face and be young again. This is why San Francisco is working collaboratively to ensure young people have the information and encouragement they need to get vaccinated.”
San Francisco has been preparing for this moment for several weeks. As with previous eligibility expansions, Department of Public Health and COVID Command will work closely with community partners to ensure equitable access to vaccines in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The City has created a robust infrastructure of low-barrier access points that will be offering the Pfizer vaccine all of which will be identifiable on the website sf.gov/getvaccinated.
The Department of Public Health is currently working with the Department of Youth, Children and Their Families (DCYF), San Francisco Unified School District, our Population Health Division, San Francisco Health Network and COVID Command as well as other organizations that serve youth and families to inform the public about where to access the Pfizer vaccine. To help families that may have some questions about vaccinating their children, the SFDPH and DCYF will be hosting a town hall on Wednesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. with San Francisco’s Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip; Dr. Lillian Brown, Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF - HIV, Infectious Diseases; and Global Medicine and Dr. Lee Atkinson-McEvoy – UCSF Division Chair of Pediatrics. For more information and to register go to https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LVs1nhGSQaegLZHrULz0aw. The meeting will stream on SFGovTV YouTube so that those who can’t make it, can tune in later.
“As a community we have made great strides,” added Dr. Colfax. “Our recent expansion to the yellow tier—the least restrictive under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan—is proof that the interventions we’ve implemented as a city and as individuals to help slow the spread of this disease have paid off. Now, it’s time for us all to get vaccinated so that we can continue on this path towards reopening and getting back to the things we love. Thank you for your ongoing cooperation. We are here because of you.”