(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

SF expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to minors 12 and up

San Mateo County also preparing to begin vaccinating kids next week

San Franciscans 12 and older can now begin receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, city officials said Thursday.

Until not, only San Franciscans 16 and above were eligible for the vaccine, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday gave authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to be used for 12- to 15-year-olds.

“This expanded eligibility is important progress in our fight against COVID-19, one that is especially encouraging as we look to fully open all of our schools for full-time, in-person learning,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “By creating a network of vaccination sites in our city, we’ve focused on making the vaccines easy to access by meeting people where they are. We will continue that effort with strategies specifically targeting our youth and their families. As we bring this focus to younger people, we encourage everyone to take this opportunity to make sure all eligible family members are getting vaccinated.”

The newly expanded eligibility comes as 75 percent of city residents have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, with the city vaccinating some 8,500 people per day, city officials said.

“The fact that we are at a point in this pandemic where we can offer vaccines to youth ages 12 to 15 is a truly remarkable sign of progress,” San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. “The more people we vaccinate, the more we can get back to the things we love without the fear of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to a friend or loved one.”

The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that has been approved for people between the ages of 12 and 15. About 25,000 children between 12 and 15 years old live in the city.

Typically, consent from a minor’s parent or legal guardian is required for the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, because the FDA has classified administration of the vaccine as emergency, SFDPH has issued a new emergency health order allowing minors 12 years old and up to consent to receiving the Pfizer vaccine. The new health order also calls for the health care provider administering the vaccine to reasonably attempt to notify the minor’s parent or guardian and allow that person to object the administration of the vaccine, according to city officials.

With the latest expansion, SFDPH and the city’s COVID Command Center are working with the San Francisco Unified School District to bring the vaccine to some school sites in the near future.

Newly eligible residents and their families can visit www.sf.gov/getvaccinated to find locations administering the Pfizer vaccine and to schedule appointments.

San Mateo County is also set to begin vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds at the San Mateo County Event Center next week. County Manager Mike Callagy said during a media briefing Wednesday that there are about 40,000 children in San Mateo County in that age group.

“We are poised to immediately start accepting those 12 to 15. We are also poised to have mass vaccination clinics next week Tuesday and Wednesday at the Event Center to handle the increased volume,” Callagy said.

Vaccinations are available at the San Mateo County Event Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, this week and next. People can schedule an appointment through the state’s MyTurn.ca.gov system or people can drive up and register on site.

Parental consent will be built in to the MyTurn system when vaccinations open up to 12- to 15-year-olds, deputy chief of San Mateo County Health Srija Srinivasan said.

The county also plans to work with school districts and San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee to get eligible teenagers vaccinated.

Srinivasan said that there are already two regular vaccination clinics on school campuses: one at Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto and one at San Mateo High School in San Mateo.

A list of vaccination clinics in San Mateo County is available at https://www.smchealth.org/vaccine-clinic-calendar.

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