Hamilton County expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all residents 12 and older

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)

The Hamilton County Health Department announced Thursday that all Hamilton County residents age 12 and up are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination starting Friday.

The eligibility expansion is in accordance with new guidelines from the Tennessee Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a news release. These age groups are eligible at any provider in the state that is offering vaccines.

"Expanding Pfizer COVID-19 eligibility to everyone ages 12-15 is an exciting step in immunization efforts across the state," Hamilton County Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes said in a statement. "We hope parents and guardians will make it a family event and bring the entire family to one of the many vaccination locations available in Hamilton County."

Though everyone age 12 and up is now eligible for the Pfizer shot, both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for use in people age 18 and up, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

Children ages 12-17 may come to a Hamilton County vaccination site without their parents if they have a pre-signed vaccine encounter form and their parents or guardians are available to give consent over the phone. The vaccine encounter form can be accessed at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov.

To search for locations offering vaccines throughout the region and book an appointment, residents can visit the website vaccinefinder.org.

The following health department Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination events are free and open to public:

Tennessee Riverpark, 4301 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga

* Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

* Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The Bethlehem Center, 200 West 38th St., Chattanooga

* May 15, 29 & June 19, 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

La Super Carniceria, 400A Chickamauga Road, Chattanooga

* May 14 & June 4, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Birchwood Clinic, 5625 Highway 60, Birchwood

* May 19, 26 & June 9, 16, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

- Compiled by Kiara Green