On Wednesday, May 12, based on a review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials in the United States, the expanded emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC formally recommended expanding the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 through 15. Yesterday evening, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued a standing order for providers that makes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available to North Carolinians ages 12 and older.
Public Health is committed to ensuring equity and efficiency in vaccine administration and will work with schools, community partners, and vaccine providers to get vaccine throughout Buncombe County. “We welcome the opportunity to protect more of our community members with the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County Public Health Director. “Buncombe County Health and Human Services has administered almost 90,000 doses so far, and by expanding eligibility to 12-15-year-olds, we will be able to prevent more infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, not only in this age group but throughout our entire population.”
Young people are just as vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. In North Carolina, the percentage of COVID-19 cases in children 17 and under has been increasing. In the clinical trials, the vaccines were found to be very effective in the 12-15-year-old age group. The most commonly reported temporary reactions among teens were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever, and joint pain. These typically lasted between one and three days and were similar to those reported in clinical trial participants 16 years of age and older.
There are many ways for those 12 years of age and older to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Buncombe County:
- To find providers with the Pfizer vaccine, go to MySpot.nc.gov and filter for “Pfizer.”
- Vaccinations at home are available to those who have difficulty leaving their home because of their age or a health condition. Members of their household and caregivers can be vaccinated at the same time. Please call (828) 419-0095 or email email@example.com to be added to Buncombe County’s homebound vaccination list.
- No-cost, walk-up vaccines are provided at the Buncombe County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic located on the campus of A-B Tech. You can also schedule an appointment by visiting www.buncombeready.org or by calling the Ready Team at (828) 419-0095.
To get a vaccine at the Buncombe County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic:
- Visit the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center located at 16 Fernihurst Drive, Asheville, NC 28801 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. **EXCEPTION: Today, May 13, the clinic is open from 12-7 p.m.** Please wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
- Follow the signs to the parking garage, enter the conference center and check in with the greeters. Language assistance is available on-site.
- You will be given a form to fill out that asks basic questions about the person to be vaccinated, including their name, date of birth, and health status. If you have an insurance card, please bring it with you to the clinic.
- The staff will review your information to ensure that you are cleared for the vaccine. A medical professional will review your health status if indicated.
- Once your health information has been reviewed, you will move to the vaccination station for your vaccination and a second dose reminder card.
- After your vaccination, you will move to the observation area where paramedics observe you for 15 or 30 minutes to make sure you are feeling good and are ready to leave.
Some vaccine providers may require parental/guardian consent prior to COVID-19 vaccination of children under 18 years of age. North Carolina law allows those under age 18 to provide consent themselves for some types of healthcare if they demonstrate to the medical professional that they are able to understand and make decisions about their health. This includes health decisions regarding certain communicable diseases, like choosing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We know that folks want to see and be a part of graduations, sports, camps, and life in general again, and these vaccines are helping us get back to those things and so many others that we have missed,” Saunders adds. “Please check with your medical provider if you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We look forward to providing vaccinations to as many people as possible in Buncombe County.”