CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, issued a statement Wednesday recommending children ages 12-15 be inoculated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized for use in this population by the FDA on Monday.

Up to 17 million adolescents are now eligible to be vaccinated, which “strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19,” Dr. Walensky said.

From the statement:

Today, I adopted CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents. CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away.

Though most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization. There have also been rare, tragic cases of children dying from COVID-19 and its effects, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

This official CDC recommendation follows Monday’s FDA decision to authorize emergency use of this vaccine in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents icon, and is another important step to getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and closer to normalcy.

For vaccination to do its job, we must do our critical part. That means vaccinating as many people as possible who are eligible. This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19. Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected.