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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Likely Coming This Week In NC: COVID Vaccine For Kids 12 And Up

Vaccine Shots

Children ages 12-15 in North Carolina will be able to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as early as Thursday if the federal emergency approval process proceeds as expected.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for the vaccine to be administered to children ages 12 and older. A committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the full CDC are expected to also approve the Pfizer vaccine as early as Wednesday afternoon.

“It will most likely be Thursday morning before we have all of the steps actually covered and we can begin vaccinating patients,” Dr. Lyn Nuse, a pediatrician with Atrium Health, said on Tuesday afternoon. “The good news is we have known this is coming so we’ve been putting plans in place this whole time.”

Nuse said that Atrium will open up appointments as soon as the additional vaccine approvals are issued. She said parents and guardians can call their child’s primary care office, dial Atrium’s coronavirus hotline or use the hospital system’s patient portal to sign up for a shot.

Charlotte’s other large hospital system, Novant Health, said it also expects to start administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15 this week. If the vaccine receives federal approval, Novant said it will accept walk-ins for this age group at all of its permanent vaccination sites beginning on Thursday at 3 p.m.

If granted emergency authorization, the Pfizer vaccine would be the first in the U.S. to be approved for children ages 12 and up. Anyone 16 and older is currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for people 18 and older.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.