(MANKATO) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in adolescents ages 12 to 15. The final decision on Emergency Use Approval is expected Wednesday by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) applauds this step in bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents. Mankato Clinic physicians encourage parents and caregivers to protect their teens against COVID-19 when the vaccine is available to them.

“Data from clinical trials shows that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for younger age groups. The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds the FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents and has advocated for the inclusion of children in COVID-19 vaccine trials,” Dr. Katie Smentek, Mankato Clinic pediatrician, said. “This vaccine was tested in a clinical study of more than 2,000 volunteers age 12-15 before the FDA gave the vaccine the green light for use in this age group.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends a minimum interval of 14 days before and after COVID-19 vaccines in which no other vaccines can be administered. This means there will be a seven to eight week period in which a person cannot receive other immunizations.

Children in this age group may require other immunizations this summer. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Tdap and meningococcal coverage dropped by 8 percentage points and 7 percentage points, respectively, in seventh grade students. In addition, adolescents and teens may be overdue for their HPV vaccination as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that HPV vaccinations are down by more than 20% compared to 2019.

“Your child’s primary care provider can offer guidance on the recommended immunizations and clinic staff can get your child’s vaccinations scheduled to ensure a safe return to activities and school for everyone,” Dr. Smentek said.

Mankato Clinic will be administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, May 19, at the Children’s Health Center. Beginning on the afternoon of May 12, people may visit http://www.mankatoclinic.com/how-to-book-your-covid-19-vaccination-appointment to book an appointment.