The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday, May 10, that children ages 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since the agency expanded its Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The Virgin Islands Department of Health has adopted this new change and is pleased to say that children ages 12 to 15 can be vaccinated for COVID-19 locally as well.
The department has reported almost 400 COVID-19 positive cases in individuals 0 to 17 years old. This latest development will lower the risk of children becoming severely ill with the COVID-19 virus.
Deputy Commissioner Dr. Janis Valmond shares her optimism for achieving community immunity with the recent expansion of the Pfizer vaccine’s availability for children ages 12 to 15.
“I’m encouraging parents to make the choice to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. This pandemic has interrupted the lives of everyone – especially children who have not been able to learn or socialize normally. This opportunity will help us get on the road to normalcy,” Valmond said.
Until now, only individuals age 16 and up could receive the Pfizer vaccine in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In late March, Pfizer announced that clinical trials found “100 percent efficacy and robust antibody responses” in study participants who were 12 to 15 years old.
With this announcement, the territory pushes closer to reaching Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s goal of vaccinating 50,000 unique individuals by July 1.
Parents or guardians with specific concerns or questions about their child’s health should contact their child’s pediatrician.
The Community Vaccination Centers on St. Croix and St. Thomas offer the Pfizer vaccine. To schedule yourself or your child for the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit www.covid19usvi.com/vaccines or call 340-777-8227.