May 12, 2021

DHSS authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine administration for adolescents


Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Today, Robert Knodell, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Dr. George Turabelidze, State Epidemiologist, signed the standing order for PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administration for individuals 12 to 15 years in the state of Missouri. This is following the decision by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the Pfizer vaccine be made available to administer to children ages 12-15 years. The vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. Prior to this decision, the Pfizer vaccine was only approved for individuals age 16 and above.

In Missouri, this expanded authorization creates vaccine eligibility for approximately 313,000 additional individuals. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a series of two doses, at least three weeks apart, for all eligible individuals. It is important to receive the second dose for maximum protection against COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccinations for those 12 years and older are available from any provider offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. DHSS continues to enroll pediatricians into State’s COVID-19 vaccine program so they can order COVID-19 vaccines and administer them to their patients. Additionally, schools may consider partnering with a local public health agency or other provider to set up vaccination clinics for students.

The Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines continue to be available to individuals age 18 and older. Those seeking vaccination should visit to find vaccination sites and events. State-supported events and vaccination sites can be found at this site. Individuals can also register in Missouri Vaccine Navigator and find appointment options in the following languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and French. Some local providers also accept walk-ins. 

In most situations, a parent or guardian must be present for an individual under the age of 18 to receive the vaccine. In some settings, written consent from a parent or guardian may also be permissible.  

In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 among participants ages 12-15. The side effects in adolescents were similar with those reported in clinical trial participants 16 years of age and older and included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, and fever.


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