Monique Perez, a sophomore at Somerset High School, swabs her nose to test for the coronavirus.
Monique Perez, a sophomore at Somerset High School, swabs her nose to test for the coronavirus. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Adolescents will soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved its emergency authorization.

Children ages 12-15 are expected to be able to get a shot within days, but only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The other vaccines in emergency use in the U.S., Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have yet to be thoroughly tested on children.

Pfizer’s vaccine is also the only shot teens 16-17 years old can get.

Pediatric trials are ongoing for children aged 6 months to 11 years old.

County Judge Nelson Wolff said the authorization to vaccinate young teens would help Bexar County get closer to herd immunity.

One more step remains before the vaccine can be administered to children ages 12 to 15: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel will review data from the Pfizer trials, but it is expected to greenlight the measure.

Meanwhile, Bexar County’s vaccination program is charging ahead. About 62% of age-eligible county residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 46% are fully vaccinated, according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s weekly report. A spokeswoman for the mayor said those figures exceed both state and national averages.

If you know anyone who is hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, helping them make the right decision starts with empathy. Here’s a guide from the CDC on how to talk to friends and family about the vaccine.

One incentive to get vaccinated is to have greater peace of mind while removing your mask in front of friends you don’t live with. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser during the pandemic, said on Sunday that indoor masking rules could soon be relaxed even further for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He also said mask use could become seasonal during periods in which respiratory illnesses such as the flu are at their peak.

One thing vaccinated people should never have to do is pay for their vaccine. KSAT’s investigative team reported on a case in which a local man was erroneously billed hundreds of dollars after getting vaccinated.

Bexar County’s weekly positivity rate fell by 0.9 percentage points from last week and now stands at 1.7%. That means for every 100 residents who got tested for the coronavirus last week, fewer than 2 tested positive.

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.