Blue Shield of California
COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, Plan Sponsors, Brokers and Consultants

B2B General

May 13, 2021 - 4 min read

What the expansion of vaccine eligibility to adolescents means for working parents and employers

Breaking down the FDA authorization, the effects of the expansion, and what comes next


Good news for working parents came on May 10 when the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 12-15. With FDA’s authorization bolstering the efforts of school districts in returning to in-person classes this fall, businesses and parents planning a return the workplace (or a welcome reprieve from the challenges of at-home learning) gain an important foothold on the path to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Of course, vaccine shots need to be administered before we can move towards herd immunity, and employers are an important source of trusted information for their employees. Company leaders fielding concerns about COVID-19 vaccines can remind employees that children can and do get COVID-19, with nearly 13% of all cases in California being under the age of 17, and that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for adolescents is safe and highly-effective. Our own Kim Bower, a family physician, and senior medical director with Blue Shield Promise Health encourages parents to vaccinate their kids, saying:

“Like all other lifesaving immunizations, COVID vaccines are essential for protecting your child as well as family, friends, teachers, and others in your immediate and extended community. Getting children vaccinated will allow them to more safely engage in activities which are important to their development like spending time with friends, playing group games, and participating in social events. While it’s normal to feel a little anxious, the science behind these vaccines shows that they are safe, effective, and essential protection against COVID-19.”

With a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for adolescents and a dose for younger children on the horizon in 2021, it may be easy to think the end of COVID-19 is near. While expanded vaccine eligibility is a welcome step in our return to normalcy in work, school, and life, vaccine hesitancy in adults remains the major barrier in the fight against COVID-19. For businesses of all sizes wondering how to encourage employees, their families, and communities to vaccinate against COVID-19, Phase 2 of our Return to the Workplace page has articles, FAQs, tips and other resources for addressing vaccine hesitancy.

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