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Food and Drug Administration expands Pfizer vaccine eligibility to ages 12-15
Congressman Brian Higgins announced new tools from the White House that will help Western New Yorkers find vaccination sites in Erie and Niagara counties and receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement follows news by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that Pfizer vaccine eligibility will be expanded to include Americans ages 12-15.
“Ensuring Americans have continued access to both COVID-19 vaccination sites and vaccines is a major priority of our federal disaster response, especially now as we work towards a recovery,” Higgins said. “These resources, coupled with the expansion of vaccine eligibility, will help connect families to vaccination sites within our community to get vaccinated.”
Residents searching for vaccinations sites in Erie County or Niagara County can follow the links provided for general information, or may visit www.vaccines.gov / www.vacunas.gov and enter their specific ZIP code. Residents can also use a new texting option by sending their ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) / VACUNA (822862) to find quick information on a nearby site.
In Erie and Niagara counties combined, there are more than 100 vaccination sites for Americans to utilize to receive a dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Over 40,000 pharmacies across the country are providing vaccines to Americans.
In February, Higgins successfully pushed to increase vaccine access in Western New York by urging the Biden administration to include several local clinics in the first federal allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine to Federally Qualified Health Centers.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include people ages 12 to 15. This is an encouraging step in the ongoing battle against this global pandemic.
"As we have with the authorization of each COVID-19 vaccine and subsequent changes, we will use science and data to determine the safest path forward for New Yorkers. Tomorrow, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will meet publicly to review data and discuss whether to recommend the vaccine for this age group to the CDC director. Following that review, Dr. Howard Zucker will meet with our clinical advisory task force and make a final recommendation, which means we could have full authorization for vaccinations to begin for 12- to 15-year-olds here in New York as early as Thursday.
"The COVID-19 vaccine is our best weapon to defeat the virus, and we're taking all the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety and effectiveness of our vaccine program."