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The Tennessee Department of Health today announced it will begin administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15 years. This is following the decision by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the Pfizer vaccine be made available to administer to children ages 12-15 years. The vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. Prior to this decision, the Pfizer vaccine was only approved for individuals age 16 and above.

“We have been anticipating this decision for several weeks, and I am thrilled we can begin offering the Pfizer vaccine to children in this age group,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “As a mother and a pediatrician, I believe this vaccine to be safe and effective for children and I hope other parents across the state are relieved to learn this option is available. Our local health departments have been working ahead in preparation for this decision, and vaccine supply is available.”

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines continue to be available to individuals age 18 and older. Those seeking vaccination should visit VaccineFinder.org to find a list of locations and the vaccine brands they provide. This site includes a listing of both local health departments and other approved vaccine providers across the state. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two-dose vaccines, and it’s important to receive the second dose for maximum protection against COVID-19.

Local health departments will be able to vaccinate children ages 12-15 years beginning Friday, May 14. Individuals are able to request appointments online through Vaccinate.tn.gov. When making an appointment, individuals under the age of 18 should select a Pfizer vaccine appointment time. Health departments also accept walk-ins.

Individuals may also schedule an appointment with a local vaccine provider by visiting covid19.tn.gov or VaccineFinder.org. Many local providers also accept walk-ins. For more information regarding vaccine recommendations and guidelines from ACIP visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/vacc-specific/covid-19.html.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.