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Children ages 12-15 now eligible for Pfizer vaccine at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital clinic

GOLETA, Calif. - Cottage Health announced Wednesday that children and young teens aged 12-15 are now eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital's drive-up clinic beginning Thursday, May 13.

This comes on the same day the CDC officially approved the vaccine for the new age group, and two days after the FDA granted Pfizer with emergency use authorization for those ages 12-15.

Everyone 12 and older is now eligible for the Pfizer shot. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to provide consent at the clinic.

The Goleta clinic will be open Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, visit cottagehealth.org/myvaccine or cottagehealth.org/mivacuna. Walk-in vaccinations are also available.

Infectious disease physician Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons says Cottage Health has been preparing to expand the vaccine rollout for weeks, given the strong data from the Pfizer vaccine trial in 12-to 15-year-olds.

“The data is strong, the data is good,” she explained.

Fitzgibbons says kids and teens 12-15 should get good protection from the Pfizer shot and tolerate it similarly to adults.

“Physiologically and in many ways, teenagers are just small adults,” she said. “And so, medically, I think it makes a lot of sense.”

Some parents are still hesitant to vaccinate their kids in the newly-eligible age group. Fitzgibbons' message to them is to consider that kids and teens are getting COVID far more often now than they did a year ago, likely due to schools and sports resuming, reopening progress and other factors.

“Our under-18s have more infections now than they really ever had through the pandemic,” Fitzgibbons said. “And now is really, I think, a good time to lean in and get our kids the protection that I think, they now have access to and are gonna benefit from.”

Fitzgibbons is a mother of kids under the age of 12. She says the medical community still needs to learn more about the vaccine in younger children, and wait for extensive trial data to be released in the coming months, before expanding vaccine eligibility.

“As we go down in age, below age 12, I think is a quite different question,” she cautioned. “I need to see that data. We need to see that data. And I think when we do, hopefully, it’ll be good news all around.”

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Ryan Fish

Ryan Fish is a reporter, sports anchor and forecaster for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Ryan, click here.

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