Essentia Health will soon vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds against COVID-19 following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for that age group.

After reviewing clinical trial data submitted by Pfizer, which showed 100% effectiveness among more than 2,000 U.S. trial participants ages 12 to15, the FDA authorized making the vaccine available to that age group.

Shots are expected to begin Thursday, May 13, following guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory committee.

The other two COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. — from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are only for those at least 18 years old.

Patients and non-patients can make an appointment through Essentia’s MyChart patient portal or by calling 218-855-5270. Anyone under the age of 18 must bring a consent form, signed by their parent or guardian, to be eligible for the shot.

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“This vaccine is highly effective and side effects are well-tolerated and generally what were observed with people aged 16 to 25,” said Dr. Sharnell Valentine, a pediatrician at Essentia Health, in a news release.

All three COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing COVID-19 infections, and all three are almost 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, according to Essentia Health officials.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children increasingly are accounting for more of the United States’ new COVID-19 cases, underscoring the importance of immunization among adolescents.

For more information on Essentia’s vaccine program, visit