By Katelynn White
Tribune staff 
Parents eagerly awaiting for their children between the ages of 12 to 15 to be eligible to receive the COVID vaccination may be able to do so starting Thursday. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration released a statement of its decision to expand the age requirement for the use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s two-dose shot. 

Since January, Tennessee residents have been rushing to locate sites that are offering COVID vaccinations. While residents 16 and older have been excited to resume social outings, some parents have had to pause their plans until their children can also receive the vaccine.

FDA approval of the use of Pfizer’s two-dose shot in children ages 12 to 15 can help increase the nation’s efforts to get better control over the virus. There will be no difference in the two Pfizer vaccine doses that are given to children. The vaccines will still be given three weeks apart, FDA officials said.

Bill Christian, Associate Director from Communication and Media Relations at the TN Health Department office, released a statement saying, “We are aware of the authorization by the FDA and are monitoring the recommendation from ACIP which we anticipate to come later this week. Pending that recommendation, we will coordinate with our approved vaccine providers across the state so that they can begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds.”

According to the census, this means that 83,659 African American children in Tennessee will have the chance to receive the Pfizer vaccine if vaccinations for children ages 12 to 15 are approved.

This news has brought a sigh of relief to many parents. Katherine Caruthers gave her thoughts while leaving the Nolensville Rd. Kroger store, one of many sites in Nashville that are providing residents with the vaccine.

“Even though I don’t have a 12-year-old and my kids are much younger, this is still great news because if this goes well my kids are next in line. My children are always asking about camp and honestly, I don’t feel safe with allowing them to resume their summer without being vaccinated. I just received my first shot, but I won’t be fully relieved until everyone in my household is vaccinated and that includes my kids,” she said.

If the CDC gives further approval on adolescents receiving the Pfizer vaccine, then vaccines will be sent directly to the pediatricians& 39; offices, said FDA officials. This gives parents a more comforting feeling when their child goes to receive each dose, the FDA said.

An official from the Tennessee Health Department said, “No sites have been announced for children to receive their vaccine. Until we receive more information, we cannot set up locations or times.”