L.A. County to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 to 15 starting Thursday

Los Angeles County will begin offering Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12 starting on Thursday, public health officials announced Wednesday.

The decision to include adolescents ages 12 to 15 comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration to expand emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The CDC panel concluded that the same dose of vaccine given to adults is safe and strongly protective for those 12 to 15 years old. Those 16 and older had already been approved to get Pfizer’s vaccine months earlier.

All eight L.A. County vaccination sites will be open Thursday and will vaccinate children ages 12 to 17, the county's Public Health Department said Wednesday. All other vaccine providers who offer Pfizer shots may also being inoculating those in that age group.

started accepting vaccine appointments for those 12 and older on Wednesday.

Teens must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult, and present a photo ID and verification of age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging qualifying children to get the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only shot now authorized for kids.

By April, those ages 12 to 17 were making up slightly more of the nation’s new coronavirus infections than adults over 65, a group that’s now largely vaccinated, the Associated Press .

In , there have been more than 500 severe coronavirus cases among young people and 21 deaths, with a median age of 15.

CDC's advisory panel concluded that the shots will let kids safely attend summer camps and will help assure a more normal return to classrooms in the new school year.

The CDC also announced Wednesday, contrary to its previous advice, that health care workers can decide to give another needed vaccine at the same time, especially for kids who are behind on their regular vaccinations.

For a full list of sites across L.A. County offering Pfizer vaccines, visit . To schedule an appointment, visit . Walk-ins are welcome at all eight county-run sites.  

Parents or teens with questions about the vaccine can contact their health care provider or visit the county's  website for more information.