Advance Notice: Briefs

About 500K kids in Michigan are now eligible to get the COVID vaccine

By: - May 13, 2021 1:24 pm

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s daughters, ages 12 and 15, get the COVID-19 vaccine after the CDC’s approval | Screenshot

Doctors and state and national public health leaders on Thursday morning urged Michigan parents to get their 12- to 15-year-old children vaccinated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized it for emergency use in this age group and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices gave the green light Wednesday.

“Vaccinating children is key to protecting kids from getting seriously ill, limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping families and communities return to normalcy,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “All parents of teens should reach out to their primary care providers to talk about the vaccines and how they can get their child vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Approximately 498,000 12- to 15-year-olds in Michigan are now eligible for vaccinations, according to state census data. Parents can find a vaccination site by visiting or calling 2-1-1. Vaccinations will be available at many locations statewide by appointment or walk-in starting Thursday.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, pediatrician and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, had her 12- and 15-year-old daughters vaccinated on camera during the press event.

“They’ve been literally jumping up and down in excitement over being able to get this vaccine,” said Hanna-Attisha, who raised the alarm about the Flint water crisis. “As a parent, it’s a relief to know that with these vaccinations today, they are on their way to being protected.”

Hanna-Attisha also emphasized that while most children and teens with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, the virus can be serious for some, especially those with certain underlying conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.

“During the recent surge in Michigan, we saw a marked increase in serious pediatric COVID cases requiring hospitalization,” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha.

Children age 10 to 19 make up 12.6% of total cases in Michigan since March 2020, with more than 102,000 cases statewide. There have been more than 1,300 COVID-related hospitalizations in children under the age of 18 in Michigan since August 2020.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.