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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

COVID-19 vaccine now available for 16 year-olds

By Ashley Voong | Staff Writer


   As of April 15, the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expanded to Californians ages 16 and older who can now book appointments on the My Turn website.

   Those newly eligible have the option to receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is available to those 16 years old and older or the Moderna vaccine if they are 18 and up. Both of these vaccines will require two doses at least 21 days apart for Pfizer and 28 days apart for Moderna.

   Effective April 13, distribution of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, which would have been available to those 18 and up, has been paused by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to CDC, six women experienced severe blood clots as a result of receiving this vaccine, one of whom died.

   Despite the pause in the distribution of the Janssen vaccine, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will continue distribution as they are proven to be effective and moved on to clinical trials in younger children.

   “The Pfizer-BioNTech study of 2,260 younger adolescents released last month found that the vaccine had 100 percent efficacy against symptomatic infection in children ages 12 to 15,” according to Healthline. “While the initial clinical trial in people age 16 and older found that the vaccine had 95 percent efficacy at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.”

   On April 9, Pfizer submitted its trial results to the FDA for emergency approval to expand its vaccine eligibility to include children ages 12 to 15.

   As for the Moderna vaccine, safety and effectiveness have not been assessed in those under the age of 18 by the Emergency Use Authorization. However, after three clinical trials involving 15,419 participants aged 18 and older, according to Yale Medicine, “The Moderna vaccine was found 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic infection in people with no evidence of previous COVID-19 infection.”

   Both vaccines may have side effects, especially after the second dose.

   According to Stat News, “The most common side effects are injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain. Some people in the clinical trials have also reported fever.”

   This is a sign that the vaccine is working and the immune system is adjusting.

   “To date there are no serious, long-term side effects associated with receipt of these vaccines, which will be closely monitored as their use expands,” said Stat News.

   As a precautionary measure, vaccination sites have a 15-minute waiting period after being vaccinated before they release patients to monitor for severe side effects.

   The COVID-19 vaccine will also come at no cost, but a photo ID, proof of work in LA County, proof of LA County residence, or proof of age 16 or older must be shown at the vaccination site in order to receive the shot.

   “As of April 8, more than a third of the U.S. population, 109,995,734 people, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that group, 19.4%, or 64,422,618 people, are fully vaccinated against the virus,” according to the CDC. 

   By widening the range of people who can get the vaccine, it is a step closer to putting an end to the pandemic.

   People Magazine said, “President Joe Biden had requested that all 50 states and the District of Columbia fully open up their vaccine eligibility by May 1. But with most states already doing so, he moved up the date to April 19.”

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COVID-19 vaccine now available for 16 year-olds