Benton County & Yakima sites won’t vaccinate children ages 12-15 yet

Southern Washington
Image credit: Matt Slocum

SOUTHERN WASHINGTON – Despite the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children age 12+, mass vaccination sites in the region will hold off on administering doses to minors.

Press releases were issued by officials from both the Yakima Health District (YHD) and the Benton County Mass Vaccination site on Tuesday afternoon. Community members have been reaching out to public health leaders regarding this new development, causing both parties to make formal announcements.

According to Evelyn Lusignan of the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team, officials from the site are awaiting further approval from other health leaders. While the FDA is a crucial first step in clearing the vaccine for minors between the ages of 12-15, the administration doesn’t have the final say.

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With that in mind, teams from Southern Washington are awaiting further information before clearing children age 12-15 for vaccination. Health officials from Yakima County and Benton County are awaiting approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Western States Scientific Safety Workgroup.

The mass vaccination sites in Southern Washington are currently administering doses of the Pfizer vaccine to anyone age 16+ and offers the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for anyone age 18+.

POLL: Would you let your 12-15 year old get the coronavirus vaccine?

Local Emergency Response Coordinator Nathan Johnson of the Yakima Health District offered the following statement on these developments.

“We are excited to hear the news of authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15. However, we still need to wait for recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health before we can make any implementations locally,” Johnson said.

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