Teenagers age 12 to 15 will now be able to obtain a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Arkansas.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced during a Tuesday afternoon press briefing that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was now approved for use for 12-15 year-olds in the state. He said that further guidance is expected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will help determine the path forward for the vaccine.
“This is an important news announcement so that parents can make plans to vaccinate their 12 to 15 year-olds in addition to those 16 and above, which has been previously approved,” Hutchinson said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15 year-olds on Monday, May 10. The agency expanded the existing emergency use authorization for the vaccine after determining that the benefits outweighed “known and potential risks.”
“The FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. said in a statement. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”
Hutchinson encouraged parents to schedule appointments to obtain the vaccine, even though the guidance was still being determined.
This development, according to Hutchinson, will help the state reach its goal of having 50 percent of the population with at least one vaccine dose by July 31.