Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup finds Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for 12- to 15-year olds

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The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup tonight completed its review of the federal process and has unanimously concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for youth aged 12 to 15. The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington this evening.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the vaccine in 12- to 15-year olds, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices affirmed that decision on Wednesday. The Workgroup reviewed and affirmed the federal decisions Wednesday evening.

Washington, Oregon and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The Workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.

Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:

“We are very pleased that teens can now be vaccinated. We have seen an increase in cases among this age group, and we can now make sure they are protected with the vaccine. This will further help us bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:

“This is great news for Oregon children, parents, and families. Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, young Oregonians and parents can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for youth. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines––I urge you to reach out to your family doctor or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”

Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom:

“The in-depth review from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup reinforces the fact that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and will help young Californians protect themselves from COVID-19. I encourage those who are now eligible to get vaccinated. Expanding vaccine access to teenagers is a critical step in defeating this pandemic and will get us that much closer to safely reopening California’s economy next month.”

Statement from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak:

“I am pleased that the experts in our Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup agree with our federal partners that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine for adolescents as young as 12 years old.

“This vaccine is a vital tool in our fight against COVID-19 and the protection it offers our families is invaluable as we look to the future and work to protect the health of our communities. Thank you to my fellow Governors for your expertise and collaboration on this process. We are better and stronger together and residents of all western states can be confident in this review.

“I am excited that we can now open vaccination to this age group and this announcement is an important step to protecting our children as every vaccine given puts our state one step closer to recovery."

Read the Workgroup's memo here.

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