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Here's How To Get Your 12+ Kid A COVID Shot In LA

A teenager holds his sleeve up as a health worker holding a syringe applies a vaccination in his upper left arm. Both are wearing masks.
Teenagers serving as "COVID-19 Student Ambassadors" in Detroit receive a dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
(Matthew Hatcher
Getty Images North America)
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In L.A. County, an estimated half-a-million adolescents are now able to get the free Pfizer shots.

Federal health officials have expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to include 12-15 year olds.

Friendly reminder: Pfizer is the only one of the three COVID-19 vaccines availablethat has this emergency use authorization for minors. Only adults ages 18 and older can get either the Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccines.

The mass vaccination sites in L.A. County operated by the Department of Public Health all offer the Pfizer vaccine. The county added a list of sites that have Pfizer shots in stock. Walk-ins are welcome at all county-run sites, though you can also make an appointment and complete the paperwork before you arrive. Be sure to bring a photo I.D. and age verification.

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The county has been working with other vaccine providers — including pediatricians — to make sure as many of them as possible have at least some Pfizer vaccine to offer 12-17 year-olds who may come in to a medical office.

“We've made arrangements to break down those trays [of Pfizer vaccine] into much smaller numbers, so that folks don't have to worry about long-term storage, or about discarding unused doses because they didn't have enough children coming in at their practice,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said.

Minors will also need to either bring a parent or legal guardian to provide permission to get vaccinated or a signed consent form. Foster parents and caregivers who are relatives can also sign. Recent guidance from the California Department of Social Services says they have the authority to consent to medical treatment such as vaccines.

Another thing to keep in mind: the Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses, given at least 21 days (three weeks) apart. Don’t worry though — we have a guide to making sure you secure that second dose here.

The CDC also updated its clinical guidance. COVID-19 vaccines can be given on the same day as other routine vaccines, such as TDAP, instead of waiting 14 days. The move is intended to help boost rates of routine immunizations, which have seen a sharp decline during the pandemic, leaving children vulnerable to myriad diseases. If you're in doubt, consult your pediatrician.