State: Vaccinating people ages 12 to 15 against COVID-19 starts Thursday

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STORY UPDATE 5:30 p.m. Starting on Thursday, May 13, 2021, the State of New Hampshire will open appointments in VINI, the state’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduling and appointment management website, for individuals 12 to 15 year olds. See Gov. Chris Sununu’s news release with more details below.

CONCORD, NH – While an advisory committee is expected to take up the FDA’s emergency authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for the nation’s teenagers, the state is preparing for the administration of shots at schools and at the state’s approved sites.

On Monday, the FDA announced its plans to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use among teens ages 12 to 15, which represents about 60,000 individuals in the state and 17 million nationally.

Jake Leon, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, said the state will be ready to roll once final authorization is announced.

“The FDA’s authorization for use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals between 12 and 15 years old is great news and will make New Hampshire’s thriving vaccine rollout even more successful.

The state has been planning for several weeks to make the Pfizer vaccine available for anyone 12 years old and older, Leon said.

“The final hurdle will be crossed once the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets to review the FDA’s decision and issue its recommendations,” Leon said.

That body is expected to confer today, Wednesday.

“The state will be ready to review those recommendations in order to immediately make Pfizer vaccine appointments available in VINI to all 12- to 15-year olds. Kids between 12 and 15 will be able to get vaccinated at any state-managed vaccine site and participating pharmacies,” Leon said.

In addition, he said the 13 regional public health networks “have been hard at work with many school districts interested in conducting vaccine clinics for their students. Once the CDC’s ACIP has provided recommendations, we anticipate that VINI will be offering appointments for 12-15-year-olds as early as Thursday.”

For many summer camp operators, the authorization could not come at a better time as they prepare cabins and dining halls for their summer campers.
Most of the state’s overnight camps halted operation last summer and were not sure in late winter if they could even open, given that many camp counselors had not had access to the vaccine.

Also, summer youth sports leagues, like softball and baseball, were hailing the news as a way to return to the fields and some said it would ensure high schools could open on time in the fall.
But some expressed concern that there could be unknown downsides to having youngsters vaccinated.

The decision to allow for emergency use authorization for the two-dose vaccine was made weighing the risks.

Gov. Chris Sununu, at last Thursday’s press conference, said he would expect the state to focus attention on getting the vaccines out to this new cohort in the coming weeks.

Dr. Beth Daly, head of the state’s Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said at that news conference that 65 percent of the state’s residents from age 16 and up, had made the choice to get vaccinated by making an appointment to do so, and so far 36 percent have been fully vaccinated and 53 percent or almost 1.2 million people have had at least one shot.

Sununu said the state is “well-underway” to planning its rollout for the teen vaccine when it is finally authorized and expected to have several press conferences focusing on the benefits.

Gov. Chris Sununu news release:

Starting on Thursday, May 13, 2021, the State of New Hampshire will open appointments in VINI, the state’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduling and appointment management website, for individuals 12 to 15 year olds.

Following FDA authorization and a vote by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available for individuals between 12 and 15 years of age. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has previously been available to anyone 16 years of age and older.

“Our teams have been preparing to expand eligibility to individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 years old for weeks now and are ready to hit the ground running tomorrow,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “The vaccine is safe, it is effective, and it remains a vital tool in our efforts against COVID-19. We encourage all families to consider vaccinating their children, and to have those one-on-one conversations with their doctors should they have any questions.”

Starting tomorrow, parents and guardians will be able to register and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for their children aged 12 to 15 years old. Same-day appointments are available at some vaccination clinics.

Anyone under 18 must have consent from a parent or guardian. This can be verbal consent from the parent or guardian onsite at the time of the vaccination, written consent that can be filled out by the parent or guardian in advance or while onsite, or an electronic consent form that can be signed by the parent or guardian at the time of registration.

Due to FDA emergency use authorization requirements, recipients under the age of 18 years old may only receive the Pfizer vaccine, which is available at the following locations:

  • All state-managed fixed sites and Walgreens locations
  • Androscoggin Valley Hospital (Berlin)
  • Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital (Colebrook)
  • Weeks Medical Center (Lancaster/Whitefield)
  • Littleton Regional Healthcare (Littleton)
  • Huggins Hospital (Wolfeboro)
  • Memorial Hospital (North Conway)
  • Concord Hospital – Laconia (Laconia)
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon)

There are more than 25,000 first-dose appointments still available in VINI prior to Memorial Day.

About this Author


Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Fly Like The Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: