SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County began offering vaccines to San Diegans ages 12-15 Thursday, following the California Department of Public Health’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine for that age cohort last night.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup — an interstate compact comprised of the public health departments of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado to fight the pandemic — approved the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds Wednesday, allowing the county’s 175,864 county youths in that age group to make appointments to receive the shots.
Parental consent is required prior to vaccination for anyone under the age of 18. In addition to parental consent, minors will have to show photo ID and proof of age, or have the parent, guardian or caregiver who accompanies the minor to the appointment verify their age and identity.
“It was fast, didn’t really hurt,” said 13-year-old Mia Torres, one of the first in her age group to receive a shot Thursday. “I didn’t feel anything.”
“My dad told me congrats it’s gunna hurt, but it will be worth it,” said Diego Lomeli, who also stopped by Logan Heights Health Center with his mom Thursday. He said he’s most excited about visiting his friends in Mexico now that he’s been vaccinated.
“I want to go back and see them again. It’s been 2 years. And I want to taste some tacos!” he said, with a smile.
If a parent or legal guardian cannot accompany the minor to the vaccination site, they will need to schedule an appointment on MyTurn.ca.gov to provide their consent in advance. All of the county’s static vaccination clinics will have Pfizer vaccines on hand for drop-in appointments — as opposed to the mobile clinics, which use primarily Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Additional information about scheduling appointments and what types of documentation youths will need to get vaccinated is available at coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.
“Data from our federal and state partners shows that the Pfizer vaccine is both safe and effective for use in young people,” said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. “Getting youths 12 to 15 years old vaccinated will better protect vulnerable San Diegans and younger children who are not eligible to be vaccinated yet.”
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency on Wednesday reported just 94 new COVID-19 cases out of 12,693 tests logged — a positivity rate of less than 1%.
The last time the county saw so few cases was May 31, 2020, when 73 cases were reported — nearly a full calendar year ago.
Wednesday’s data increased the total case count to 278,401. County officials did not report any additional deaths at their Wednesday press briefing, leaving the death toll at 3,725.
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county expects at least 200,000 vaccine doses next week, Pfizer representing two-thirds of them. This follows a week in which the county received 302,030 doses from all vaccine manufacturers.
“There are plenty of vaccines available,” he said.
The county has received 3,699,585 doses of coronavirus vaccine and has administered 3,229,407 of them.
A total of 1,748,016 people have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 86.7% of the way toward reaching the county’s goal of vaccinating 75% of San Diego County residents 16 and older, or 2,017,011 people.
A total of 1,286,108 — or 63.8% of the county’s goal — in the 16-or- older age range are fully inoculated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those percentages are likely to change significantly when the 12-15 age cohort is added to county data sometime this week.
According to data from the California Department of Public Health, San Diego County made significant strides in reducing adjusted daily case rates. The county’s rate dropped from five new daily cases per 100,000 people to 3.7 this week.
To graduate into the “yellow” or least-restrictive tier of the state’s reopening plan, the county must report fewer than two cases per 100,000 — a metric Fletcher believes the county is unlikely to reach before most restrictions are lifted statewide on June 15.
The county’s positivity rate declined to 1.7% and the health equity positivity rate — how the state measures a county’s most vulnerable or underserved quartile — declined to 2%. Both of these numbers are good enough for yellow tier — however, a county is represented by its worst performing of three metrics. That leaves San Diego County in the orange tier, which features some business restrictions.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be available Thursday at two San Diego Unified School District high school campuses for anyone age 16 and over.
UC San Diego planned to administer the vaccines on Wednesday and Thursday at Morse and San Diego high schools.
The schools hosting the clinics have notified families about the free vaccines and provided them with a parent consent form that must be signed for students younger than 18 to receive a vaccine, according to the SDUSD.
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