If you follow the news, you knew this announcement was coming.

On Wednesday, May 12, the state of North Carolina declared that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be used for kids in this state.

“Based on a review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials in the United States,” the press release from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reads, “and the expanded emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC today recommended use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 through 15.”

In an effort to combat vaccine hesitancy, the release also stated that parents of the eligible youngsters can “rest assured” that the utmost scientific scrutiny was applied before the vaccine was authorized for kids in that age group.

The state has now officially authorized health care providers to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through an Emergency Use Authorization. 

 According to stats released with the announcement, roughly 123,000 children under 17 years old in North Carolina have tested positive for coronavirus.

State health officials also note that, with new variants on the scene, some parts of the country are seeing increased COVID-19 infections in children and young teens. 

Though a lot of parents are worried about their children taking the vaccine, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen stated in the May 12 press release that vaccinating kids is an important step in winning the battle against the virus.

“Having a vaccine for our younger teens brings us that much closer to being able to end the pandemic,” Cohen said. “By getting more teens vaccinated they are protecting themselves from the impact of COVID, and they are protecting their families and their communities by stopping the spread of the virus.”

Like many adults, youngsters often experience side effects from the vaccine. The  most commonly reported reactions among teens are “pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain.”

Those usually last a day or two in kids – as they do in adults – according to state health officials.

Right now, North Carolina has nearly 800,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine on hand. The NCDHHS is working with pediatricians and family doctors to get those doses into the arms of kids and adults alike. 

NCDHHS is also helping interested schools get the vaccine and encouraging them to host onsite and offsite vaccine events for students and their families.