On the Record with Dr. Erica Pan: Protecting Our Kids with COVID-19 Vaccines | California Governor – Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

By Dr. Erica Pan, California State Epidemiologist and Deputy Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases

Californias future is brighter now that protection from COVID-19 is within reach for even more of our loved ones. Adolescents aged 12 to 15 can join older teens in getting the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine the same vaccine that has been safely administered to millions of California adults, including more than 30 percent of 16 and 17-year-olds in just the first month of eligibility.

As a pediatric infectious disease specialist and a parent of two eligible adolescents, this was exciting news. My husband who is also a pediatrician and I immediately scheduled an appointment to get our teenagers first dose once available. The past year has been hard on all of us, but especially difficult for our teens who have had to put their lives on hold. Now that eligibility has expanded, we can confidently give our kids a shot at being kids again with the comfort of knowing they are protected from COVID-19.

I have spent my career treating and preventing infectious diseases in children as a pediatric infectious disease physician and a public health official. I understand the concerns that parents have when thinking about their childrens health and wellness. I am incredibly grateful that science and technology have brought us this gift of vaccines to protect us and end this pandemic in an unprecedented timeline. It is incredible to see how quickly weve vaccinated millions of people to increase our confidence in both the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines. While continuing to vaccinate more of our population is a critical step to getting back to our normal lives, this news likely brings up many questions.

We know our teens have questions, too and thats OK. Its important for everyone to get the facts on vaccination. Here are the facts:

COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone, even if youre undocumented or dont have health insurance. Your immigration status will not be asked when you or your child is vaccinated, and information will not be shared with immigration agencies.

Young people have been heroic throughout this pandemic. They have suffered stress and isolation. Now it is their turn to join grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, aunts and uncles, guardians and neighbors, teammates, and friends in getting vaccinated so that they can safely return to fully-in person schooling and hang out more often with friends.


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On the Record with Dr. Erica Pan: Protecting Our Kids with COVID-19 Vaccines | California Governor - Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

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