On May 12, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced vaccination locations across the state are prepared to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to youth ages 12 through 15 years after the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend its use. The announcement comes following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in those youths.
Previously, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for use in individuals ages 16 years and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a series of two doses, three weeks apart, for all eligible individuals.
COVID-19 vaccinations for those 12 years and older are available at state-supported mass vaccination and mobile clinics, local health departments, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and from other providers who offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. IDPH is working to enroll pediatricians into the State immunization registry so they can administer COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. Additionally, schools may partner with the local health department or pharmacy to set up vaccination clinics for students. Individuals should check with their local health department or health care provider about whether a parent or guardian must be present for an individual under the age of 18 to receive the vaccine, or whether some other form of written consent is required.
In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 among participants ages 12 through 15 years. The side effects in adolescents were similar with those reported in clinical trial participants 16 years of age and older and included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, and fever.