OLYMPIA, Wash. — Everyone 12 and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington state.
The state Department of Health (DOH) expanded its vaccine eligibility Wednesday evening following recommendations that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for people 12 to 15 years old.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people 12 years and older. The decision was backed up by advisors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday.
In addition, the state DOH said the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which includes experts from Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada, voted Wednesday night to recommend the vaccine for immediate use.
“Expanding eligibility to this younger age group protects our children and gives families peace of mind. It is the best step we can take as parents to ensure our kids remain in the classroom, can safely spend time with friends, and take part in sports and extracurricular activities,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, secretary of health for the DOH in a statement. “Research continues to show this vaccine is safe and I am thrilled it is now an option for parents and their young teens.”
Many parents in western Washington have already been making vaccine appointments for their teens in anticipation of it being approved by the advisory panels.
When making a vaccine appointment for someone 12 to 17, the DOH advised making sure to choose a location that administers the Pfizer vaccine, since it's the only one currently approved for that age group.