This story was updated on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 5:18 p.m. with additional information.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's health agency announced Wednesday that the state will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds.
Earlier this week, federal regulators recommended using the two-dose vaccine in 12- to 15-year-old kids. A federal advisory panel that met Wednesday also signed off on the recommendation, paving the way for shots to be given to many of the nation's adolescents.
"We have been anticipating this decision for several weeks, and I am thrilled we can begin offering the Pfizer vaccine to children in this age group," Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a statement. "As a mother and a pediatrician, I believe this vaccine to be safe and effective for children and I hope other parents across the state are relieved to learn this option is available."
Piercey said local health departments have been preparing for this decision.
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will continue to be available to individuals age 18 and older.
To date, more than 5 million vaccines have been distributed to the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 36.1% of the Tennessee population has received at least one dose. Roughly 28% of the population has been fully vaccinated.