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SAN DIEGO – The FDA on Monday approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine in children ages 12 to 15. Health experts hope the move helps curb the spread of COVID-19 in young people and local school officials hope it aids in the reopening process.

“The ability to get more of our students vaccinated between now and then will certainly make that safer,” San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera said.

San Diego Unified rolled out walk-in Pfizer vaccine sites this week at four of its high schools for those 16 and older, who already are eligible for the vaccine.

Now that the infrastructure is in place, Barrera said the effort could expand to thousands of its younger students as soon as next week.

“When we get the green light, you know, from the county and from our partners, then we certainly would like to expand availability at our high schools for students who are younger than 16 and then to begin setting up clinics at our middle schools,” he said.

The Sweetwater Union High School District rolled out its Pfizer vaccine clinic last week it, too. The district is looking forward having more of its students vaccinated soon.

“The South Bay and the communities that Sweetwater serves have been hit really hard by COVID, and though our numbers are declining just like the rest of the county, this is still something very important,” said Vernon Moore, the district’s chief of educational equity and support services.

He also said as more students become vaccinated, the more secure teachers feel in the classroom.

But before those 12 to 15 can get the Pfizer vaccine in San Diego County, both the CDC and Gov. Newsom’s handpicked advisory review group need to give approval, which could happen this week.