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Essentia Health vaccinating children ages 12-15

Essential Health officials say they expect to begin vaccinating children ages 12 to 15 with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Essentia Health St. Joseph's Medical Center Exterior Dusk3.jpg
Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Essentia Health is vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds against COVID-19 following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for that age group.

After reviewing clinical trial data submitted by Pfizer, which showed 100% effectiveness among more than 2,000 U.S. trial participants ages 12-15, the FDA authorized making the vaccine available to that age group.

Vaccinations follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory committee.

The other two COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States, from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are only for those at least 18 years old.

Patients and nonpatients can make an appointment through Essentia’s MyChart patient portal or by calling 218-855-5270. Anyone under age 18 must bring a consent form, signed by their parent or guardian, to be eligible for the shot.


“This vaccine is highly effective and side effects are well-tolerated and generally what were observed with people aged 16 to 25,” Dr. Sharnell Valentine, a pediatrician at Essentia Health, said in a news release.

All three COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 infections, and all three are almost 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, according to Essentia Health officials.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children increasingly are accounting for more of the United States’ new COVID-19 cases, underscoring the importance of immunization among adolescents.

For more information on Essentia’s vaccine program, visit bit.ly/3a4Qsyr .

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