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NYS begins Pfizer vaccinations for 12-15 age group

Paul Vernon / Associated Press

New York State is following Washington, DC's approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for young people aged 12-15.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said its decision to endorse the vaccination for young people came after a thorough review of data and the FDA's emergency use authorization earlier this week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said that was enough reason for him to authorize the same.

"I accepted their recommendation and am authorizing all providers enrolled in the NYS COVID-19 vaccination program to expand eligibility for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people in the 12-15 age group, effective immediately," he said.

At the same time, however, Cuomo said he directed state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force to conduct a concurrent review "to further ensure the safety and effectiveness of New York State's vaccination program."

Cuomo noted that children under the age of 18 now account for more than 20% of new cases nationally.

During his visit to Buffalo, the governor also announced five new pop-up vaccination sites in Western New York to be held in collaboration with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

The sites will serve walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis utilizing the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine beginning Friday and continuing through Wednesday, except on Sunday. Those vaccinated will receive a free seven-day Metro pass.

University Metro Rail Station
3383 Main St., Buffalo
8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Utica Metro Rail Station
1391 Main St., Buffalo
2 p.m.-7 p.m.

Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center
181 Ellicott St., Buffalo
8 a.m.-1 p.m.

AppleTree Mall/Business Park
2875 Union Rd., Cheektowaga
2 p.m.-7 p.m.

Portage Road Transportation Center
1162 Portgage Rd., Niagara Falls
2 p.m.- 7 p.m.

As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, Cuomo also announced that beaches and pools will operate with 6' social distancing, with the goal to reopen them to 100% capacity by July 4.

The state's 7-day average positivity rate as of Wednesday was 1.28%. Western New York's rate was 2.3%, the highest in New York after the Finger Lakes at 2.78%. The Southern Tier was lowest at 0.6%.

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