File Photo. | Photo via Pfizer, Inc.

The Lake County Health Department announced that children ages 12 to 15 years old will be eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine starting on Thursday.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to ages 12 through 15 following a review of clinical trial data.

Previously, Pfizer’s vaccine was only eligible for people 16 and older.

The Lake County Health Department said that parents and legal guardians are encouraged to register their children on the Lake County AllVax Portal to make an appointment at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake or the Regional Vaccination Site at 102 West Water Street in Waukegan.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will hold a meeting Wednesday and vote on expanding the age eligibility before making its recommendation to the CDC.

Lake County vaccine providers will then be able to vaccinate the 12 to 15 age group, the health department said.

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AllVax appointments for 12 to 15-year-olds will open within 24 hours of the ACIP vote, according to a statement from the health department.

Households who are already registered on the AllVax portal are encouraged to add children as a household member instead of setting up a separate account for their children.

Minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to receive their vaccine at a Lake County Health Department vaccination site.

“We are eager to provide COVID-19 vaccines to more teens and adolescents to prevent new infections in our families and communities,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department.

“Cases among 14 to 18-year-olds in Lake County doubled in the month of April. We know our families long for normalcy—healthy and lower risk social interactions, quality education with minimal disruptions, and the return of activities that we enjoy. We urge families to protect your children from this illness by getting them vaccinated as soon as possible,” Pfister said.

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Residents may also check with other Lake County COVID-19 vaccine providers such as local vaccination sites, pharmacies, and healthcare providers for availability of vaccinations for this age group.

230,261 Lake County residents, or 32.86% of the population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday. Over 80% of seniors ages 65 and older and 50% of those ages 16–64 have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the county.