Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula on FDA Authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for those 12 and Older

(Richmond, Va.) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents aged 12 to 15. The EUA previously covered those aged 16 and older.

While this is an exciting first step toward offering this vaccine and its protection to more than 400,000 Virginians, we must await additional federal approval before doing so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is expected to meet Wednesday to discuss today’s action by the FDA and make a recommendation to the CDC whether to approve using this vaccine in adolescents. Virginia would not begin offering the vaccine to those 12 and older until the CDC approves doing so.

We are encouraged by the FDA’s action and its support of the vaccine’s use in those 12 and older. Virginia already has begun planning for the expansion of vaccine availability to this age group, including having discussions with local health districts, school systems, pediatricians and other physicians, and our pharmacy partners.