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COVID-19 vaccine: What teenagers and parents should know

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COVID-19 vaccine: What teenagers and parents should know

If you’re a teenager or the parent of one, you may have questions now that eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine has expanded to anyone ages 16 and older in South Carolina.
We reached out to Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health, for answers to some of the common questions parents and teenagers may have.

What's changed?

South Carolina has moved to Phase 2 of its vaccination plan, which expands eligibility to anyone ages 16 and older.

What does the change mean for children and teenagers?

Under the previous phase (1b) of the state’s vaccination plan, children ages 16 and 17 became eligible to receive the vaccine in certain circumstances, such as if they had a medical condition that put them at high risk for COVID-19. The transition to Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan means anyone ages 16 and older in South Carolina is now able to receive the vaccine regardless of their medical history, employment or other risk factors.

Does this mean all teenagers and children can receive the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is only be available to individuals 16 and older, at least for now.

Why can’t younger children receive the vaccine yet?

At the moment, COVID-19 vaccines are only authorized in the U.S. for adults, except the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, which is authorized for use among individuals ages 16 and older. Studies are underway to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines in younger teens and children. Early results are promising.

Which vaccine can children ages 16 and 17 receive?

The Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine currently authorized for use in individuals 16 and 17 in the U.S.

Where can my child receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine?

It’s easy and convenient to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine at Tidelands Health, our region’s leader in COVID-19 vaccination. Make an appointment today to receive the vaccine at a large-scale vaccination event on Saturday, April 10, in Myrtle Beach, or schedule an appointment at one of our three Tidelands Health regional vaccination sites in Horry and Georgetown counties. Both daytime and evening appointments are available. Learn more by clicking here.

Is there a cost?

There is no out-of-pocket cost to receive the vaccine.

Why should teenagers be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Although teenagers are generally at lower risk than adults for severe complications from COVID-19, they can still become infected with the virus and spread it to others, including those at higher risk for the disease. Getting the vaccine will help our community, state and nation sustainably recover from the pandemic and help us return to our pre-pandemic way of life.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Gerald Harmon

Dr. Gerald Harmon, who has cared for patients in our region for more than 35 years, is a family medicine physician and vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health.

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