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Oregon approves COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 and older

In this Saturday, April 10, 2021 photo, a syringe is loaded with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, Canada’s health regulator authorized the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and older. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kids 12 and older are now eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon and Washington state, health officials announced Wednesday night.

The announcement by the Wester States Scientific Review occurred just hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepted U.S. health advisors’ endorsement of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and older. The workgroup represents Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada.

“This is great news for Oregon children, parents, and families. Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones," Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said. “With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, young Oregonians and parents can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for youth.”

Oregon residents who are 16 and older have been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since April 19. Officials say that beginning Wednesday, kids who are 12 to 15 are eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as well.

Kids 12 to 14 years old must be accompanied by either a parent, a guardian or someone designated by the parent. Anyone 15 or older does not need to be accompanied or require parental consent in the state of Oregon.

On Tuesday, Brown announced her vaccination target — 70% of Oregonians 16 or older to receive a first vaccine dose — in order for statewide restrictions to be lifted.

At this time, vaccinations for children 15 and younger will not count toward the 70% goal.