(Benton Harbor, MI) (5-13-21) — Following the recent authorization and recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Berrien County Health Department will start vaccinating children ages 12-15 years old with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents and guardians wishing to protect their children over the age of 12 from COVID-19 may schedule an appointment online at clinics offering the Pfizer vaccine. The Health Department has clinic appointments available for the Pfizer vaccine as early as next week. While appointments are encouraged, walk-ins are also welcomed at any of the Berrien County Health Department’s clinics. A parent or guardian must provide consent before any minor under the age of 18 may receive their vaccination. 

Nicki Britten, health officer for the Berrien County Health Department

“We urge all families to strongly consider vaccinating their adolescents over the age of 12 as soon as possible. Vaccination amongst this age group is crucial to reduce COVID-19 transmission in our community. Not only does this vaccine provide excellent protection against the virus, but fully vaccinated people have the added benefit of not needing to quarantine if there are future exposures to COVID-19.”

While only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for adolescents as young as 12 years old at this time, there are other safe and effective vaccines widely available for adult residents who have not received it yet. BCHD continues to offer open scheduling for both first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine with appointment availability found at www.bchdmi.org/COVID19; residents who need assistance in scheduling an appointment can call 1.800.815.5485.