NEW YORK — Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 could begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
"The COVID-19 vaccine is our best weapon to defeat the virus, and we're taking all the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety and effectiveness of our vaccine program," Cuomo said in a statement.
The announcement comes after the Federal Drug Administration on Monday expanded the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children in that age group. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was previously approved for use in individuals 16 years and older.
Cuomo said the state's review panel will meet to discuss administering the vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee convenes Wednesday to review the FDA's authorization.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier Tuesday that the city's public schools would not require proof of vaccination in September.
It comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement Monday that the SUNY and CUNY systems would require vaccinations for all in-person learning at the start of the fall semester.
The mayor touted the low transmission rates in schools in his rejection of a vaccination requirement.
“We’re seeing extraordinary success right now in our schools and this is before we’ve been able to vaccinate our kids,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Schools have been incredibly safe because of all the health and safety measures, that gold standard of health and safety measures we put together.”
The SUNY and CUNY mandates do not apply to teachers and staff.
Several private universities in the area, including NYU and Columbia, have also announced a vaccine requirement for this fall.
However, the mayor expressed his optimism that NYC public schools will continue to be a safe place for students and educators.
“I’m really excited about the fall,” he said. “I think we’re going to be in much much better shape than we even are now in terms of the overall COVID situation.”