Treasure Valley health systems opening Pfizer vaccine access to children 12-15 years old

Posted at 1:36 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 08:25:28-04

Several Treasure Valley health care systems announced they are expanding eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

Both Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke's say the Pfizer vaccine will be available to children ages 12-15 after the FDA and CDC granted Emergency Use Authorization for the age group.

Related: CDC advisers endorse Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 and up

“We know that the vaccine has been proven to decrease your risk of getting the infection, and if you do get the infection, can decrease your risk of hospitalization and death. It’s a huge benefit and is now available to children age 12-plus. That’s amazing,” said Dr. Vaun Archibald, DO, a Saint Alphonsus Medical Group pediatrician in a statement. “I think we should take advantage of this opportunity. No one is going to have their arm twisted and forced to get a vaccine. It is optional. However, I do encourage parents to think long and hard about it, and to use those evidence-based approaches that have shown that this vaccine is effective and safe and can benefit everyone.”

St. Luke's and Saint Alphonsus both require patients under 18 years old to have parent permission to receive the vaccine and cannot consent on their own.

The FDA reports around 1.5 million children between 11 and 17 years old have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020, according to St. Luke's. The approval for use in children came from clinical trial data that shows the vaccine was 100% effective when trialed on more than 2,000 participants 12 to 15 years old.

St. Luke's says data also shows side effects of the doses were "well-tolerated" but fevers were slightly more common in younger children than teens and adults.

Medical Director for St. Luke's Childrens Dr. Kenny Bramwell said there are ongoing studies to try and get other age groups approved for the vaccine.

"In essence what they are doing is gradually expanding the ages of patients that can get these vaccines, so my hope is that they'll continue to do this every few months, and we'll have a larger group of patients who can get vaccinated," Bramwell said.

More clinic options opening up across the Treasure Valley

The Boise School District announced Wednesday it will partner with St. Luke's to hold vaccine clinics at district high schools.

The clinic schedule is:

  • Borah High School 8-11 a.m. May 20, June 10
  • Capital High School 1-5 p.m. May 20, June 10
  • Boise High School 8-11 a.m. May 24, June 14
  • Timberline High School 1-4 p.m. May 24, June 14
  • Frank Church students at West Junior High School 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 15, July 6

The vaccinations through the clinics are all free, but students should bring insurance information if possible, according to the district. Students also need a signed consent form or verbal phone consent from a parent or guardian at both the initial and booster dose.

Crush the Curve will also open up more clinics to help the 12- to 15-year-old age group get vaccinated:

  • Economy Parking Lot - Boise Airport at 5600 W Victory, Boise1st dose: May 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.2nd dose: June 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Caldwell High School - Parking Lot at 3401 S Indiana Ave, Caldwell1st dose: June 5 from 8:30 a.m. 7 p.m.2nd dose: June 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

No appointment is necessary, but patients can register online or text/call 208-391-7036, or the Spanish only line at 208-495-6001.