OAKLAND, Calif. - Alameda County has now opened up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to residents as young as 16 years old.
The county updated its expanded eligibility requirements on Sunday, while stressing, "We continue prioritizing vaccines for residents in our hardest-hit neighborhoods."
OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25: Vehicles wait in line in observation lanes at the Oakland Coliseum vaccination site on Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. The Coliseum vaccination site is only scheduled to be open for eight weeks, which means it wil
Health officials also noted that those aged 16 and 17 only have the option of receiving the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as the other vaccines currently available in the U.S., those from Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, have only been approved for those 18 years and older.
The county encouraged residents to make an appointment through the state’s myturn.ca.gov portal.
As more and more individuals become eligible to get inoculated from the coronavirus, county health officials warned that supplies were limited and that they might not be able to provide the shots to everyone who wants one.
"Vaccine distribution is being prioritized for persons who are most at risk for hospitalization or death due to COVID-19, as well persons who are at high risk for occupational exposure," health officials said, adding that the county expects to have increased supply in the coming months.
Alameda County joined a growing list of California counties that have lowered the eligibility age to 16.
The move came a few days ahead of California's plan to qualify all residents 16 and older for the vaccine starting this Thursday.
There was also hope that those as young as 12 years old will be added to the eligibility list in the coming months. Last week Pfizer announced it has asked the Food and Drug Administration to expand emergency use authorization of its vaccine to children ages 12 to 15.
FILE - A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and syringe is shown in a file image dated March 11, 2021. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
The company said that based on its Phase 3 trial results the vaccine has shown 100% efficacy, strong antibody responses and was well being tolerated among the younger group, even exceeding those from earlier tests on vaccinated participants age 16 to 25 years old. "These are topline results from a pivotal Phase 3 trial in 2,260 adolescents," the company said in a statement last month.
"We plan to submit these data to FDA as a proposed amendment to our Emergency Use Authorization," said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla, "with the hope of starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year."