COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin For Arizona Kids 12 To 15 Years Old

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 1:47pm

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kids holding vaccination sticker
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Some Arizona pharmacy locations started vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds on May 12, 2021.

Children 12 to 15 years old can now be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Arizona. The Pfizer vaccine got federal approval this week for younger teens, and pediatricians are encouraging parents to sign their kids up.

Even though COVID-19 is most dangerous for older adults, it poses a threat to children too, said Dr. Ruben Espinoza, a pediatrician with Banner Health. 

“There’s still a possibility, especially for older teenagers, to get complications and to get severe post-COVID or long-COVID," Espinoza said. "Problems with their heart, problems with their joints, they can have longstanding fatigue.”

Arizona children have been infected with COVID-19 in higher numbers than kids in most other states, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Only seven states have reported more COVID-19 infections per 100,000 children. And tragically, 31 Arizonans under the age of 20 have died from the virus, the second-highest child mortality total in the nation.

Espinoza said months of data from millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine being administered around the world prove the shot is safe and effective. 

“I want to reassure the parent, from a pediatric standpoint, that this has been a very rigorous process," Espinoza said. "Although it seems fast, it’s not, just because of the amount of data that we have now.”

Arizona’s state health department estimates there are nearly 400,000 kids between 12 and 15 in the state. The Pfizer vaccine is available at state-run vaccine PODs and many pharmacies.

→ Q&AZ: What You Need To Know About Getting The Coronavirus Vaccine In Arizona

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