Santa Barbara Co. Public Health preparing to administer Pfizer vaccine to 12-15 year-olds

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 11, 2021

After the Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that children ages 12 through 15 will be able to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, local health departments are getting ready to administer it once given the green light.

Santa Barbara County health officials say they've been preparing for this.

"We have been planning to vaccinate 12 plus for the last several weeks,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director.

Although local health officials are looking forward to administering the COVID-19 vaccine to a new age bracket, they say they are still working on getting guidance and authorization from multiple entities including the state.

"So we need fact sheets, we need guidance, and then with those documents, we can then be ready locally to provide those shots,” Do-Reynoso said.

As of now, Do-Reynoso says this will not be mandatory and will require the parent's consent, similar to when those 16 and older became eligible a couple of months ago.

Some parents say they are more than willing to take their children to get the shot.

"I mean, as a parent of course you always have concerns, but you have to take into consideration what is going on right now. There's still a lot we don't know about this virus,” Veronica Hanson said.

Others told KSBY they prefer not to let their children get the vaccine.

"For children, I think it's very risky especially since it's not FDA approved. I am more against it right now to not want to give it to her and just take our precautions as we have been,” Mariah Gonzalez said.

Local health officials add they will be working together with multiple sources like local pharmacies, school districts, and local hospitals.

"We will be reaching out to our school system and seeing what's the best way to reach out to those families of 12, 13, 14 and 15-year-olds. Vaccination of this active age group is a critical step towards ending the pandemic,” Do-Reynoso said.