Levine: COVID vaccinations for Vermont adolescents could begin this week

Coronavirus

FILE – This Jan. 24, 2021, file photo shows a vial of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 in Seattle. U.S. regulators on Monday, May 10, 2021, expanded use of Pfizer’s shot to those as young as 12, sparking a race to protect middle and high school students before they head back to class in the fall. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Vermont will be ready to begin providing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 within days of its use being authorized by the federal government, officials said Tuesday.

On Monday, federal regulators recommended using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-old kids. A federal vaccine advisory committee is expanded to act on the recommendation Wednesday.

The actual vaccinations could begin being administered to adolescents as soon as possible after approval, “certainly this week,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine during the briefing.

Meanwhile vaccination clinics are being planned for more than 40 schools and adolescents will be able to get the vaccine at any location that offers the Pfizer vaccine.

There are about 27,000 Vermonters in the 12-15 age group.

To help ensure the state has enough vaccine to meet the demand, Smith said Vermont is is ordering 4,480 doses of vaccine above its regular allotment through a federal program that is reallocating doses from other states that don’t want them.

Vermont is making good progress in vaccinating its population and the state ranks first in the country in a number of categories that measure how many people in states are getting vaccinated.

If the trend continues the state could lift its state of emergency earlier than currently planned, but more needs to be done, Gov. Phil Scott said during the briefing. The state is now aiming to lift restrictions July 4.

“Fortunately we are in a good place and if, and only if, Vermonters step up and get vaccinated we could get out of this sooner than we had thought and hoped for,” Scott said.

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