Following the FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to include 12-to-15-year-olds last week, MU Health Care will hold a special vaccination event geared towards this age group Monday.
The Faurot Field vaccination site at the Walsworth Family Columns Club will have a clinic open for adolescents from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday.
MU Health Care will host another special vaccination event for adolescents Thursday at the Walsworth Family Columns Club also from 4 to 8 p.m.
To schedule a first dose appointment for MU Health Care’s upcoming clinics, click here.
MU Health Care vaccine co-chair and family medicine physician Laura Morris said although the event is targeted towards teens, the clinic isn’t limited to that age group.
“Our demand from adults has been dropping recently,” Morris said. “So, I think that we’ll see a lot of those slots taken by teens. But, we’re not excluding others who also want to get a vaccine.”
Morris said the clinic will be held in the evening to offer a convenient time frame for this younger age group.
“We think that time slot works the best for teens and the parents of teens because it’s after school, so they don’t have to miss school to come get their vaccine,” Morris said. “Parents also don’t have to miss work. And most of the people that are 12 to 15 are going to need some transportation to get there.”
Morris said she anticipates that adolescents will cause a surge in the demand for vaccines in the short term. She said the frequency of these clinics held in the future will depend on the attendance of upcoming clinics like the one planned for Monday.
“We’ll have to gauge the demand here,” Morris said. “We have plenty of supply, and we anticipate being able to get plenty more supply.”
Although Pfizer is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for children ages 12 to 15, Morris said she anticipates other vaccine manufacturers will become approved to administer doses to this age group as well.
“All vaccine manufacturers are looking at trying to expand their age groups. And so the next one most likely will be the Moderna vaccine,” Morris said. “Johnson and Johnson also has studies that are going on down to even age 6 months.”
Any where the Pfizer vaccine is offered, people ages 12 and up are now eligible. Morris said there are other vaccination sites available if some people can’t attend the MU Health Care clinic Monday.
“If our times at the Faurot location don’t work for you, look for a different vaccinator locally,” Morris said.
Morris emphasized the importance of young teens getting vaccinated in order for more people to feel confident about moving closer to protecting the community as a whole.
“We know that teens and adolescents are really active and mobile members of our community.” Morris said. “They need to and want to get out and do things. Even though, to this point, children and teens have not been the most severely affected by COVID, they’ve definitely played a role in community transmission.”
Morris said it’s important for teens to get their first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible. She said the sooner teens are fully protected against COVID-19, the sooner they’ll be able to safely participate in activities throughout the summer.
“Teenagers have a lot of things to do this summer,” Morris said. “They have camps to go to and sports to participate in. And so getting them vaccinated as early as possible in the summer means they’re completely protected for more of the summer activities.”