Minnesota reveals first COVID vaccination figures for 12-15 age group

One-fifth of Minnesota's young teens have at least one round of vaccine.
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More than 60,000 kids aged 12-15 in Minnesota have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for the first time Tuesday revealed vaccination figures for the 12-15 age group. As of May 23, 60,711 kids between those ages have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That's just over one-fifth (21%) of the state's entire 12-15 population.

This comes 15 days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for children in that age group.

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MDH is now including vaccination figures for 12- to 15-year-olds on its vaccination dashboard

Through May 23, the state reported 2,863,354 people in Minnesota have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 2,512,458 people have completed their vaccine series. Overall, 60.9% of the state's 12+ population now has received at least one dose.

How are some young teens are fully vaccinated?

Curiously, the state's dashboard Tuesday morning said 107 people in the 12-15 age group had completed their vaccine series - despite emergency authorization for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine only coming 15 days ago, and a 21-day gap needed between both shots.

An MDH spokesperson told Bring Me The News this is not an error. Rather, the numbers include 12- to 15-year-olds who participated in clinical trials, as well as some 15-year-olds "who were vaccinated prior to the age expansion."

"We do not have details on that, but when someone is vaccinated outside of the minimum age, the recommendation is to finish the series," MDH said.

Kris Ehresmann, the department's director of infectious disease control, acknowledged in a statement that in those cases with 15-year-olds, parents or guardians may have violated the vaccine guidance at the time. But because the vaccine is now authorized for that age group, "there aren’t any additional steps that would be taken" by the department.

"For those too young to be vaccinated yet, parents should continue to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19," she added.

Moderna seeking emergency authorization

On Tuesday, Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in children aged 12-17 two weeks after the second dose, and will be seeking FDA  approval for emergency use among those ages. It would be the second COVID vaccine approved for use in children.

The most recent spike of COVID-19 in Minnesota saw the U.K. variant spread during March, much of which was attributed to transmission among younger generations, who were ineligible for vaccinations.

Dimitri Drekonja, an infectious disease doctor based in Minnesota, noted on Twitter Tuesday that school-associated COVID-19 cases - once climbing - appear to have peaked, and are now coming down.

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