Mississippi health leaders provide update on Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and up

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) held a news conference on Thursday regarding the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.

More than 164,000 Mississippians are now eligible to be vaccinated, and MSDH is encouraging the age group to make an appointment or attend pop-up sites around the state. To get their 12 to 15-year-old’s first and second dose, a parent still needs to be in attendance to consent by filling out a form on the days their child gets the shot.

Throughout the pandemic, more than 22,000 kids ages 12 to 17 contracted the coronavirus, sending some to the hospital. At least one child died from the coronavirus in Mississippi.

The more kids get vaccinated, the more confident state doctors feel about transmission going down to those vulnerable around kids. School activities are also expected to go back to normal.

“We’ve had 62 hospitalizations and 20 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome among children in this age group. So I think it’s still vitally important that we get these folks vaccinated and protected to prevent hospitalizations and deaths. I would strongly encourage parents to not take these chances,” said State Epidemiologist Paul Byers.

“Approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old is a significant step in pediatric care and in fighting COVID-19,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). “This will protect children ages 12 to 15 from the risk of COVID-19 and complications of it, such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.” 

As for all other age groups, the Pfizer vaccination for 12- to 15-year-olds includes two shots given three weeks apart. 

The Pfizer vaccine is being offered at all pop-up sites across the state in the near future or participating clinics and state run drive-thrus.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and can be scheduled at the UMMC Vaccine Clinic in the Jackson Medical Mall by calling (601) 815-3351 or online here

Appointments can be scheduled online at https://covidvaccine.umc.edu. Parents can call the COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 877-978-6453 to make an appointment for their child.

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