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Health, Science & Tech

Pennsylvania: 750k Kids Expected To Become Eligible For Shot

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Gene J. Puskar
/
AP

About 750,000 Pennsylvania children are expected to become eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot after U.S. regulators expanded the use of the two-dose vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds, state health officials said Tuesday.

Health providers in Pennsylvania could begin vaccinating people in that age group later this week after a federal vaccine advisory committee signs off as expected. An announcement is expected Wednesday.

The state Health Department said vaccine providers should follow their existing policies for vaccinating minors, which requires parental consent in Pennsylvania.

The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf has said it will lift a statewide mask mandate once at least 70% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated. Statewide, about 45.6% of people aged 18 and older have been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Megan Culler Freeman, pediatric infectious diseases fellow with UPMC, said the health care system plans to partner with schools in the Pittsburgh area, as well as community pediatric clinics.

Allegheny Health Network pediatric institute chair Dr. Joseph Aracri said there will be no major distribution changes, but parent or guardian consent will be required to receive the vaccination.

Currently, both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are in trial phases on their COVID-19 vaccines for children.

WESA's Jason Phox contributed to this report.