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Vaccinating adolescents 12-15 years now recommended by MDHHS

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending that providers begin vaccinating adolescents 12-15 years of age following a vote by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices supporting that recommendation. It is also recommended that the COVID vaccine can now be administered at the same time, or on the same day, as other vaccines in both children and adults.

“It’s great news to have a safe and effective vaccine available to protect younger Michiganders as we work to eliminate COVID-19 once and for all,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “We are incredibly proud that the Pfizer vaccine, which is now approved to protect our children, is manufactured right here in Michigan. As a parent, I encourage all parents with children in this group to have a conversation with your family doctor about the vaccine as soon as possible.

Today, MDHHS will issue guidance to vaccine providers on the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Michiganders 12-15 years of age. The guidance follows authorization of the vaccine for this age group by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an expanded emergency use authorization. Providers can begin vaccinating this age group as soon as today.

“Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in the fight against COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

“This allows for younger Michiganders to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” Khaldun added. “I urge all families to learn more and make an appointment for their tween as soon as possible to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

Although most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization. There have also been rare, tragic cases of children dying from COVID-19 and its effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. From March 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, approximately 1.5 million COVID-19 cases in individuals 11 to 17 years of age have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Michigan, more than 102,000 cases and 11 deaths have been reported in ages 10 to 19. Children and adolescents generally have milder COVID-19 disease as compared to adults.

Minors ages 12 to 17 will need a parent or legal guardian to provide written consent for COVID-19 vaccination. As with any vaccination for adolescents, it is recommended that adolescents have eaten and are well hydrated prior to their vaccination. More information is available in Teens and COVID-19 Vaccines by clicking here:

The FDA has determined that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older outweigh known and potential risks, supporting the vaccine’s use in this population. The available safety data to support the EUA in adolescents down to 12 years of age, include 2,260 participants ages 12-15 years old enrolled in an ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in the United States. Of these, 1,131 adolescent participants received the vaccine and 1,129 received a saline placebo. More than half of the participants were followed for safety for at least two months following the second dose with no significant adverse effects.

The Pfizer vaccine is administered as a series of two doses, 21 days a part, following the same dosage and dosing regimen for those 16 years of age and older. The most commonly reported side effects in the adolescent clinical trial participants, which typically lasted one to three days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain. With the exception of pain at the injection site, more adolescents reported these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

For help finding a vaccination site, visit or call 2-1-1

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can also visit

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

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