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Akron Children's Hospital to begin offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children 12 and older

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Posted at 10:41 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 18:36:37-04

AKRON, Ohio — Beginning Tuesday, Akron Children’s Hospital will accept appointments for children 12 and older to receive the Pfizer vaccine at its Akron and Boardman campuses.

Children 12 to 15 are now approved to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine after the FDA Monday extended emergency use authorization to the age group. It had already been approved for teens 16 and older.

RELATED: FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in 12 to 15-year-olds

Parents interested in signing up their child can click here.

Akron’s Children’s will continue to offer vaccines in school to students with a parent’s consent.

The hospital’s Division of School and Health Services has vaccinated high school students 16 years and older at 20 districts spanning Summit, Portage, Stark, Mahoning, Columbiana and Wayne counties. The vaccine will be offered to students 12 and older and the school-based vaccination clinics will continue into the summer months.

"We’re going to try to make it available in as many ways possible," said Dr. Michael Bigham, chief quality officer for Akron Children’s. "We know that each month a growing percentage of the COVID-19 cases are happening in children. And that’s because it's a group that's not been vaccinated. What we’re hopeful for is now that we’re able to get that group vaccinated, we’ll see the same drop off in COVID-19 cases amongst the children."

More options to vaccine access coming

As part of a two-phase approach to increase access to the vaccine to families, Akron Children’s will offer the vaccine at primary care offices beginning in mid-May.

These locations include urgent care locations, Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and drive-thru clinic at its regional health centers in Boston Heights, Mansfield, North Canton and Warren.

In June, the hospital will partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio to offer the vaccine to eligible children.

“We know parents have loved the convenience of the school-based vaccine clinics, but some families would prefer a drive-through option and others would prefer to have their children vaccinated in their pediatrician’s office,” said Dr. Bigham. “We want to give families several options for easy access to the vaccine that are close to home.”

For Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda, her team continues to work through the new logistics needed to vaccinate this younger population.

"We have some Pfizer clinics running already, so we’d be glad to add youngsters as well," she said.

Going forward, Summit County Public Health plans to focus more on pop-up clinics for kids, in addition to using schools as potential sites.

"We do foresee the need that we may need to have scheduled appointments and have a clinical setting to come in and get the vaccine just because of fear or delivery or the time it would take to explain it to them," Skoda said. "It’s probably not best suited for drive-through."

Resource for parents

Akron Children's physicians addressed vaccine questions during a panel discussion that’s available on the hospital’s YouTube channel.

The panel included Dr. Eric Robinette, a pediatric infectious disease specialist; Dr. Michael Forbes, a pediatric critical care physician; and Dr. Bigham, who has been heading up Akron Children’s COVID-19 vaccine program.

Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.

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