Western states workgroup approves vaccinations for individuals 12 and older

On May 12, The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup convened to review the federal government’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that extended COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals ages 12 and older.

In their official statement, the workgroup concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is “safe and effective in this age group and supports its use.” The workgroup added that expanding vaccination to this new group would “contribute to control of the COVID-19 pandemic in our states.”

The workgroup, composed of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunizations and public health, has been independently reviewing the safety and efficacy of all the COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. The workgroup previously determined the PfizerModerna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were all safe and effective.

In accordance with the workgroup’s decision, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has notified vaccine providers that they can begin vaccinating all individuals ages 12 and older beginning May 13.

Unlike past eligibility groups, individuals ages 12 to 14 will require parental consent for their vaccination. Parents and guardians will be able to give consent in writing, but will need to check with vaccine providers to confirm all specific consent requirements.

Under Oregon state law, people age 15 and older can consent to medical care, including vaccinations. Some vaccination sites may still require parental consent, however. Individuals should check their specific vaccination site website to confirm consent requirements.

The Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO) tool, which allows users to access information about vaccine events in their communities, has recently been updated to allow users to search for events that don’t require consent for a minor from a parent/guardian (You can read this blog post to learn more about how to filter results in the GVO tool).

Regardless of age, COVID-19 vaccines are the best tool we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and to get back to doing the things we love.

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit OHA’s COVID-19 vaccine web page. To begin looking for a COVID-19 vaccine in your community, visit OHA’s How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon web page.