Detroit kids 12-15 can get the Pfizer vaccine beginning Thursday

COVID-19 vaccine syringes sit on a table.
The city of Detroit will begin vaccinating children 12-15 years old Thursday, after the federal Centers for Disease Control approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group. (Rachel Ellis/The Denver Post)

Detroit children over the age of 12 can start getting vaccinated at city locations beginning Thursday, but they need to have a parent or guardian with them to get the shot.

“Parents are going to have to be engaged,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “We don’t vaccinate children unless their parents are with them.”

The city is expanding the vaccination age requirements a day after Wednesday’s decision by  the federal Centers for Disease Control to approve the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents 12-15 years old. Previously, the vaccines were available only to those 16 years of age or older.

Duggan said there are new rules because children are involved:

  • Anyone 12-17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • The parent or guardian must show identification.
  • The parent or guardian must sign a written consent form.
  • An adult accompanying anyone under the age of 18 will not be eligible for the city’s “Good Neighbor” program reimbursement, a city initiative that provides a $50 gift card for any city resident who brings a friend or neighbor in for vaccination.

“I don’t want that ever to be a question that somebody took their child in to get vaccinated because they wanted $50,” Duggan said.

Asked whether he would be working with schools to get students vaccinated, Duggan said he will leave that effort to Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

“My job is to make the vaccine available. I think you’ll see the school district take the proper role,” Duggan said.

The district is already working with its health care partners to provide vaccination clinics for children. On Tuesday, a group of high school students launched Teens for Vaccines, a campaign to encourage their peers to be inoculated.

The students said they embarked on the effort because they want their peers to know why it’s important to get vaccinated.

“I just felt like it was my part to make sure I can at least do something to protect my family,” Demitri Marino, a senior at Renaissance High School, said.

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