(St. Paul, MN) — Following the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds today, Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota is ready to begin vaccinating this age group this week.

“This is an extraordinary development on our path back to normalcy — we now have nearly 300,000 more Minnesotans eligible to roll up their sleeves and get life-saving protection from this deadly disease,” said Governor Walz. “We have been planning and preparing for this moment and are ready to begin vaccinating teens 12 and older. Start making your plan, Minnesota — let’s get our kids their shot as soon as possible so they are fully vaccinated and protected in time for a fun, safe summer.”

Final federal guidance is expected to be issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) later this week following a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices scheduled for Wednesday. The state will announce when final vaccination recommendations are available for providers, and we expect parents can make appointments for vaccinations later this week.

“The Pfizer vaccine has gone through rigorous clinical trials on children in this age group and has proven to be a highly safe and effective preventative measure against the deadly coronavirus,” said Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcom. “Minnesota parents can feel confident in the science, medical experts, and federal guidelines expanding authorization to 12-to-15-year-olds, and I hope they get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. Every person who gets vaccinated helps us slow the spread of this disease and protect those who cannot get vaccinated.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Minnesota has the fewest COVID-19 deaths per capita of states in the Midwest. The Census Bureau also ranked Minnesota the best state for children during the pandemic.