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New Hampshire, Vermont parents can sign up children 12-15 for vaccines Thursday

  • 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) Ted S. Warren

Concord Monitor
Published: 5/12/2021 10:05:12 PM
Modified: 5/12/2021 10:05:09 PM

Ashley Dunn, the mother of an 11-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl in the Lakes Region, had been anxiously waiting for her children to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dunn enrolled her kids for virtual classes in July when the plans for the school year were still murky. Since then, they have worked through their curriculum at home largely on their own which has “had its challenges,” she said.

The FDA’s announcement earlier this week that children 12 to 15 can now receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the first indication that her family — and others like hers — will soon be able to return to normalcy.

In New Hampshire, parents will be able to register their children Thursday on the state vaccine website VINI.

“Our teams have been preparing to expand eligibility to individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 years old for weeks now and are ready to hit the ground running tomorrow,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement Wednesday. “The vaccine is safe, it is effective, and it remains a vital tool in our efforts against COVID-19. We encourage all families to consider vaccinating their children, and to have those one-on-one conversations with their doctors should they have any questions.”

Kids older than 12 will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine at state-run sites, select pharmacies, and potentially at their schools. The state’s 13 regional public health networks will work with school districts interested in holding vaccine clinics for their students.

Anyone under 18 needs parental consent to get the shot — a verbal consent at the appointment, a written consent form that can be filled out in advance or an electronic form that can be signed while booking the appointment online.

The Pfizer clinical trial, which enrolled 2,260 adolescents, broke participants into two groups — one that received the vaccine and one that received a placebo shot. None of the teenagers in the vaccine group contracted COVID-19 while 18 participants in the placebo group developed the virus.

Dunn said she plans to sign up her son for the vaccine as soon as he turns 12 in mid-July and her daughter as soon as the vaccine is approved for younger age groups. She said the vaccine will give her peace of mind while they visit their grandparents for the first time in 18 months and when they return to in-person public school in the fall.

Still, not all parents are as eager as Dunn to get their kids vaccinated. According to a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, less than 30% of parents said they would get their child vaccinated as soon as they were eligible.

Dunn had her own reservations early in the vaccine approval process but the more she researched, the more she felt the shots were a safe way to protect her kids from COVID-19.

“Yes, I definitely had a lot of hesitation because it didn’t seem like this entire process was managed very well,” she said. “With more time and seeing that mRNA technology has been in the process for a while, you know, I really don’t have any hesitations.”

Vermont allows registration for ages 12 to 15 Thursday

MONTPELIER (VtDigger) — Children between ages of 12 and 15 are eligible to register for the Pfizer vaccine or attend a walk-in vaccination clinic starting Thursday morning, the Vermont Department of Health announced Wednesday.

That age group is the latest to be added to the state’s vaccination efforts, which until now had targeted people 16 and older.

Online registration will open at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Department of Health.

Children in that age group will need their parents’ or guardians’ permission to receive the vaccine, state health department officials have said in the past.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said in a news release that the expanded eligibility for kids ages 12 and up gives him “a lot of confidence” that the state can keep youngsters healthy.

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