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Health

Onondaga County ready, waiting to vaccinate children ages 12 to 15

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Tom Magnarelli
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WRVO Public Media (file photo)
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

Onondaga County is ready for state and federal approval to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds against the coronavirus. County Executive Ryan McMahon suggests vaccinating this age group will be a milestone in the fight against the pandemic.

"I’ve been saying it for weeks that I think this is when we really turn the corner," McMahon said. “You got a new group of eligibility. We haven’t had that for a while, so we want to get out there and make it easy and accessible.”

When state and federal officials say it’s okay, the county will open up the convention center to vaccinate children ages 12 to 15. And they’ll also head into middle schools to vaccinate, much in the way the county vaccinated older teens in high schools. The health department will work with parents and guardians to make sure they are comfortable with their kids getting the shots. McMahon said it’s important they do, because looking at the data, this is the age group that the coronavirus is targeting.

"These kids are social,” McMahon said. “We break down things every three years, under 29 years of age, and the 12 to 15 demographic had more cases today than the 20-year-olds, or the 16- to 19-year-olds."

McMahon said there are 20,000 kids in that age group in the county that would be eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine. The county has a vaccine supply that can be used for this age group. Pfizer asked for emergency approval last month, after clinical trials showed the vaccine was safe and 100% effective for that age range.