File Photo – Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. | Photo via the CDC.

The McHenry County Department of Health 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.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted on Wednesday to recommend the expansion. Previously, Pfizer’s vaccine was only eligible for people 16 and older.

The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) announced Wednesday afternoon that the newly-expanded age group will be eligible to receive their vaccine starting Thursday at the county’s vaccination clinics, which are in Crystal Lake, McHenry and Harvard.

Pfizer reported that in recent studies with participants who were ages 12 to 15, the vaccine demonstrated 100% efficacy and strong antibody responses.

The CDC and the FDA will continue to closely monitor the safety of the vaccine and will take action if any safety concerns are identified, the health department said.

The health department suggests that anyone who has questions about if the vaccine is safe for their children should discuss it with their pediatrician or family physician.

COVID-19 vaccinations at all MCDH-run clinics are free and open to everyone regardless of their county or state of residency. Walk-in vaccinations are also available.

Pfizer clinics will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at 1900 N. Richmond Road in McHenry. Other clinic dates and locations are available here.

“This is yet another milestone in the fight against the COVID-19 virus,” said MCDH Public Health Administrator Melissa Adamson. “With the expansion of who may receive the vaccine comes a greater opportunity to stop COVID-19 in its tracks.”

Anyone who is age 12 or older is eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Those under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian accompany them.

Parents must bring photo identification or guardians must bring documentation of custody that verifies they are the parent or legal guardian.

Additionally, those under the age of 18 must bring documentation showing proof of age, such as a birth certificate, state ID, driver’s license or immunization record, according to the health department.

Those wishing to schedule a vaccine appointment can do so by visiting the state’s registration site here.