TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Updated at 9:35 a.m. Thursday to include additional details.
Health departments and school districts in North Texas counties are getting ready to expand vaccines for teens.
The FDA announced Monday that it is expanding emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15. Next, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet - currently set for Wednesday. Shots for kids could begin quickly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopts the advisory committee’s recommendation.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said they believe 1.6 million people in Texas are in the 12 to 15 age group.
Before Monday's announcement, the FDA had only given Emergency Use Authorization in December 2020 for the two-dose vaccine to be used on individuals 16 years of age and older.
Here's what counties and school districts are doing:
The county’s health department is encouraging pediatricians to sign up to become vaccine providers.
The company that has been administering vaccines in the county for the health department, Curative, may be planning to reach out to all school districts in Collin County. They might offer mobile teams to vaccinate at the schools for students if they are eligible after approval, the county said.
Dallas County Health and Human Services says that parents and guardians can register their kids between 12-15 years old on the county’s registration site. Parents/guardians will be able to schedule appointments on days we are offering Pfizer at the Fair Park location, the county said.
Also, starting on May 17, DSID will also begin transporting students from around 25 schools to vaccination centers at Fair Park or Ellis Davis Center. Permission slips have been sent to eligible families at the campuses expressing interest in the program.
Within Denton County, pharmacies and primary care providers, as well as Denton County Public Health, currently order vaccines.
Once the FDA and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices approve, and Texas DSHS updates their guidance, then Denton County Public Health will update the waitlist sign-up to allow for 12-year-olds and up.
While DCPH’s last mass vaccination clinic at TMS is this Friday, additional clinics are being planned throughout Denton County. As a reminder: Parents and guardians must accompany minors to their DCPH vaccine appointment.
The county is encouraging parents to sign up their children for the vaccine with the Tarrant County Public Health Department or elsewhere.
The county will be offering the vaccination for kids 12 and older when the CDC approves it. Parents can pre-register their children at tarrantcounty.com/covidshot. They will be scheduled for their vaccination once the CDC approves the vaccine.
School district vaccine clinics:
In a letter to parents, the district said that on May 17, the Arlington Fire Department, in partnership with the Arlington ISD, will host a clinic at the district's new Athletics Center, 1001 E. Division St., from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.for students 16 years and older, parents and staff to get a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.
Important notes from the district:
- Parents will need to be present with their children 12 years to 17 years old.
- Families can drive themselves to the clinic, or transportation will be provided from each high school.
- Vaccinations are not required.
- May 17 is a pre-scheduled remote learning day without live instruction
Arlington ISD parents who are interested in getting a vaccine for themselves or for their children ages 12 - 17 (if approved for ages 12 - 15), please answer this short two-question survey to help the Arlington Fire Department approximate how many vaccines to order for the May 17 clinic.
"At this time, the District does not have such plans in place. As more information becomes available and as the CDC issues clearer guidance, district leaders will develop a plan regarding this matter," the district said.
COVID-19 vaccines are optional for staff and students and there are no plans to host clinics at this time, the district said.
Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD
The district says it is already working to provide a vaccine clinic for 16+ (Pfizer) in the district and "would love to open it up to ages 12+ if and when the CDC approves it," the district said.
As for the vaccine, the district says it has not had any discussions about requiring it nor do we have any intentions to do so.
The district said they have no plans for a vaccine clinic.
Fort Worth ISD
The Fort Worth ISD said in a Facebook post that it has established a partnership with Texas Health Resources (THR) to provide COVID vaccinations for all interested students and family members, 16 years and older, free of charge.
Receipt of the vaccine is voluntary. Parents must provide written consent and accompany minor children receiving the vaccine. You can register individual family members at this link: (https://www.TexasHealth.org/FWISD). Following registration, you will receive an email/text to schedule a vaccination appointment for each family member at a time and THR location most convenient for you.
If authorized, the district says it will provide opportunities for students 12 and older to get the vaccine. Students over the age of 16 have been given the opportunity to get the Pfizer vaccine, the district says.
"We have partnered with many community outlets and our COVID-19 vaccine efforts have been successful," the district said.
The district said Joshua ISD will not be providing COVID vaccine clinics to minors unless they become mandatory by the health department, CDC, or other agencies.
A vaccine clinic is being considered, but nothing has been officially decided at this point.
“Nothing has been decided at this time [for vaccine clinics]. As always, we rely on the Texas Education Agency, Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Dallas County and guidance from the CDC to determine further actions,” the district said.
The district is surveying families to gauge interest in a student vaccination opportunity.
Editor's note: The headline for this story has been updated to reflect that the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized by the FDA for use in children 12-15 years old and not approved, as previously written.