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Health Officials Recommend COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Age 12 and Older Amid Surge

A teenage girl is vaccinated by a health professional. (Shutterstock)

Prompted by the increased spread of the extra-contagious new Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 and the growing public danger, the V.I. Health Department is recommending children age 12 and older get the COVID-19 vaccine as the most effective means of preventing severe illness and death related to the virus.

In a statement from the Health Department, infectious disease specialist Dr. Tai Hunte-Ceasar said she has seen firsthand the effects COVID-19 has had on the Virgin Islands community. “With 21 individuals hospitalized within the territory yesterday, including two pediatric admissions ages 9 and 13, it is critical for everyone ages 12 and older to take advantage of the vaccines available to the V.I. community to end this surge and to prevent needless hospitalizations, death, and long-term COVID-19 complications,” Hunte-Ceasar said.

According to the Health Department, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for children ages 12 to 15. For children 16 and older, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen vaccines are available.

The Health Department statement says children who are unable to get vaccinated because they do not meet the age requirements rely on the adults around them to get vaccinated. When adults get vaccinated they not only protect themselves, but they protect their family.

Anyone who meets the age requirements can get the COVID-19 vaccine from either of the community vaccination centers in both districts. On St. Croix, the community vaccination center is at the Nissan Center in La Grande Princesse, next to the Honda dealership and The Paint Shop, on the same side of the street as Food Town.

On St. Thomas, the community vaccination center is located at the community health clinic on the second floor of Schneider Regional Medical Center. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 340-777-8227 or online at covid19usvi.com/vaccines. Children age 12 and older must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must bring identification for themselves and the child as well as the child’s birth certificate.

Aside from the COVID-19 vaccine, parents and guardians are urged to maintain annual vaccinations for children. Please confer with your primary pediatric healthcare provider to ensure children are in line with receiving their annual vaccinations for the 2021-2022 school year.

For more information, visit covid19usvi.com/vaccines or doh.vi.gov/programs/immunizations.

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