The Athens City-County Health Department announced Wednesday it will be hosting vaccination clinics for anyone 12 years of age and older following approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. 

On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Pfizer’s vaccine an emergency use authorization for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15. Soon after, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement May 12 encouraging the use of the Pfizer vaccine for the age group. 

In response, the Athens City-County Health Department has set up clinics at Heritage Hall, 191 W. Union St., for anyone age 12 and over. Individuals under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

The health department is holding three upcoming clinics, the first of which will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. May 13. The second clinic is May 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and the final clinic is scheduled to take place May 18, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The health department strongly encourages people to schedule an appointment for a clinic at Heritage Hall and to call the health department if an appointment outside of the designated clinic days needs to be made. 

Jack Pepper, administrator at the health department, hopes the clinics will be well-received by the public, especially by those who are cautious about letting their children get vaccinated.

“It's one of those things … where people that want their kids to get the vaccine have been really anxious about it, and they've been paying attention to the news,” Pepper said. “The hope and dream is that people are connected enough in today's world that they’ll be able to A: see that all of the approvals have been met, and then B: they'll know to navigate to our website or our social media platforms or the newspaper and see that there are some opportunities to get vaccinated.”

Pepper also said being able to vaccinate children 12 and up is a significant step in the right direction to combat COVID-19. 

“It contributes significantly to our overall goal of getting everyone that wants a vaccine vaccinated,” Pepper said. “This is just another age group, a significant one, that will be able to get vaccinated, and we can take one step closer to containing the virus.”