On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized — and on May 12, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended — the expansion of the administration of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to individuals ages 12 and older. Additionally, on May 12, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services signed a standing order to expand administration of this vaccine to individuals ages 12+ by authorized vaccine providers within the state.
With these approvals, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health may now administer first and second doses of this vaccine to anyone ages 12 and older who is interested. Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the time of vaccination. In addition to the Pfizer/BioNTech product, the Department of Public Health also is authorized to administer the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine to those ages 18 and older. For upcoming vaccination events in St. Charles County or to schedule appointments, visit https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/find/#navigator.
The Pfizer/BioNTech product is an mRNA vaccine that received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for administration in the United States on December 11, 2020. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to be effective in preventing COVID-19 among participants (with 100 percent effectiveness among those ages 12-15). Side effects reported were similar with those associated with other vaccinations and included pain at the injection site, fatigue, head and body aches, fever, and chills.
An mRNA vaccine gives instructions for cells to make a harmless protein that remains on the surface of a virus’ cell walls and triggers the body’s immune response to make antibodies that protect against infection. Because it does not contain live virus, an mRNA vaccine cannot infect a recipient with the illness. For more information on this vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html.