Baker: Roughly 75% of Mass. adult population vaccinated; kids 12-15 can book appointments Thursday

Massachusetts

NORWOOD, Mass. (WPRI) — Vaccinations for Massachusetts teenagers ages 12 and older will start Thursday, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel endorsed the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in kids ages 12 and up. The CDC is expected to accept its advisers’ recommendation.

“People age to 12 to 15 will be able to book appointments or access a walk up appointment beginning on Thursday,” Baker announced during his visit to Moderna Therapeutics Wednesday.

Baker said roughly 75% of the state’s adult population is vaccinated. He said the state is now turning its attention to opening up eligibility to the roughly 400,000 residents in that age group.

“We are working with our providers at our mass vaccination sites and others to put plans in place to vaccinate this group,” he said.

Baker explained the process will look similar to other age groups, with regional collaboratives expected to begin doing programs, possibly at schools, and teenagers already able to preregister for a vaccine appointment.

“I do think you will see more participation from the primary care community,” he added.

If parents have questions on whether or not to vaccinate their children, Baker suggested contacting their primary care provider or their child’s pediatrician.

Moderna is also working on expanding their vaccine eligibility to adolescents.

“The team is working hard to ensure high quality products and make as many doses as we can, we know every dose could save a life,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bance said.

Their vaccine is 96% effective in 12 to 17 year olds, according to data released by the company last week.

“We are working with the FDA to get the vaccine authorized as soon as we can,” Bance said.

Bance said Moderna is currently running a study for children 6 months old to 11 years old, but that it will take a few more months before authorization.

“We have to go very slow down in age to ensure the safety of the children, and we are also starting at a lower dose,” he said.

Moderna is also working on ways to combat the coronavirus variants, according to Bance.

“We will work with the FDA to get a variant specific booster to the American people as fast as we can,” he said.

The company is expecting to triple their capacity by expanding to more facilities, and expect to be at full capacity by the end of the year, Bance added.

Baker also announced a new employee vaccination program on Wednesday, which will allow employers to create appointment blocks for their staff at mass vaccination sites or request mobile vaccine clinics to visit their site at a scheduled time.

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