New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: Pfizer Authorized for People Ages 12+, Universal Dosing

May 13, 2021

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for anyone ages 12 and older in the United States, and all providers enrolled in the New York State COVID-19 vaccination program are authorized to offer the vaccine to children 12 to 15 years of age effective immediately. For this newly eligible age group, if hospitals are using a standing order they must update it to include the new age group and must have a physician signature. We have asked the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to address this expansion, including standing order and consent issues, as well as other program modifications in its updated vaccination program guidance.

The US Food and Drug Administration this week expanded the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization (EUA) to include adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. The Pfizer vaccine EUA originally issued on December 11, 2020, was for administration to individuals ages 16 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) subsequently recommended the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age, and the CDC issued a statement adopting the ACIP recommendation. The New York State COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force reviewed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinical study data and also recommends the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children 12 to 15 years of age in New York State.

Please note that anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor, with a few exceptions (e.g., if married, if a parent or pregnant, or in the military), and minors require parental or guardian consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine product authorized for children ages 12 to 17. All other authorized vaccine products (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are only authorized for adults 18 years of age and older.

CDC COCA Call: What Clinicians Need to Know About Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination in Adolescents

The CDC will hold a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call to review the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15. The presentation will cover the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, vaccine recommendations, and clinical guidance for using the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on adolescents in this age group.

If you are unable to join the live COCA call, you can access a recording of the event on the COCA call webpage a few hours after the live event ends.

Date: Friday, May 14, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Registration: No registration necessary; webcast link available here.

For dial-in in the US:
+1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 or
+1 551 285 1373 or +1 669 216 1590

Webinar ID: 161 316 1163
Passcode: 810483

DOH Universal Dosing Guidance

DOH announced via e-mail a new “universal dose” administration policy for multidose COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), meaning that vaccine providers can now draw both the first and second doses from the same vial, regardless of whether the vial had been shipped as a second- or first-dose vial. Previous guidance required keeping first-dose vials separate from second-dose vials. The new policy is to provide flexibility and reduce vaccine wastage. A recent webinar with DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, noted that the shift to this policy will impact tracking and ordering procedures. The next New York State COVID-19 vaccination program update will include additional guidance on this modification.

For a compilation of recent COVID-19 guidance, including on vaccine distribution, please visit GNYHA’s COVID-19 webpage.