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COVID Vaccines for Ages 12-15 in California: Find an Appointment Near You

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A young man wearing a Jurassic Park hoodie and glasses receives his vaccine from a pharmacist wearing a red shirt.
A young man receives a COVID-19 vaccine dose from a pharmacist on May 7, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

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Children and young people ages 12-15 are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in California.

If you're looking for a vaccine appointment for someone in this age group in the Bay Area, statewide appointments for children ages 12-15 became available on the state's My Turn vaccination site starting Thursday, May 13. There are, however, a number of ways to secure a COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12-15.

How Do I Find a Pfizer Vaccine for Kids Ages 12-15?

First of all, if you're looking for a COVID vaccine appointment near you for someone in this age group, you need to make sure that appointment is for the Pfizer vaccine, which is now authorized for people ages 12 and older. That's because the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still only authorized for use in people 18 and older.

The good news is that with this age expansion, most vaccine appointments will be clearly labeled with the vaccine type or with the ages being served.

You may not even need an appointment. As supplies of COVID-19 vaccines are finally catching up to demand in California, there are many drop-in, no-appointment-required clinics now operating in the Bay Area. You can find your county's list of drop-in sites, or use My Turn's guide to walk-up clinics near you.

Some vaccination websites will allow you to filter appointments by vaccine type. For example, on Vaccines.gov (also known as Vaccine Finder) you can deselect Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to see only sites offering Pfizer vaccines.

VaccinateCA, a California volunteer organization that aggregates and confirms details of statewide vaccination sites, has now expanded nationwide as part of the nonprofit Vaccinate the States. Their vaccine locator map below shows only Pfizer locations in the Bay Area, using information from Vaccines.gov and calls to individual locations:

Don't assume you or the young people in your care will be proactively contacted about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are four major ways to find a COVID-19 vaccine.

1. Find a Vaccine Through My Turn

My Turn is the state's tool that allows Californians to schedule COVID vaccination appointments at mass vaccination sites, clinics and pharmacies.

2. Find a Vaccine Through Your County

Visit your county's public health website to learn how your county is vaccinating residents.

3. Find a Vaccine Through Your Health Care Provider

If you have health insurance that covers a young person in your care, check with your provider to see if they can offer a COVID-19 vaccine. If they don't have health insurance but get medical care through a city/county-run provider, you can check with that location.

4. Find a Vaccine Through a Local Pharmacy

Several pharmacy chains are offering online appointments for COVID-19 vaccines — and you can now find a shot without an appointment at any CVS pharmacy that offers them.

Do I Need to Make My Kid's Vaccine Appointment for Them?

Technically, yes. When using My Turn to find a vaccine appointment, people ages 12-17 will need a parent or legal guardian to make the booking, since My Turn asks you to "certify that I am at least 18 years of age, or the parent or legal guardian of the minor patient."


What Kind of ID Can a Young Person Use?

A driver's license is a common method of photo ID for many people at vaccination appointments — but people under 16 years old won't have one. So what kind of ID will be accepted at a vaccine site for the 12-15 age group?

A Marin County spokesperson said anything that shows a young person's date of birth will be an acceptable form of ID for a vaccine appointment. This could include:

  • Their photo ID
  • Their birth certificate
  • Their student ID card
  • Their insurance card
  • Their report card, or another document from school that shows their date of birth

Dr. Anand Chabra, medical director of San Mateo County Health's Family Health Services Division, said vaccination officials recognize that many young people ages 12-15 "may not have a formal form of ID other than their birth certificate."

Young people arriving for a vaccination appointment should therefore bring "whatever they have" in terms of ID, said Chabra. And if their parent or legal guardian is with them, that individual can also be asked to "attest to the information even if they don't have a form of written ID or a government-issued ID," he said.

One exception to these ID requirements is Contra Costa County, which does not require a person's ID to provide a vaccination. Contra Costa is also vaccinating anyone regardless of whether they are a county resident or not.

When you make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for someone age 12-15, be sure to note if there are any site-specific details given about acceptable forms of identification.

Do I Need to Accompany My Kid to Their Vaccine Appointment?

Generally, yes: A parent or legal guardian will need to be present with someone younger than 18 at their vaccine appointment.

If a parent or legal guardian cannot accompany a minor who wants to get vaccinated, many vaccination sites allow young people to bring a consent form signed by their parent or legal guardian. Santa Clara County, for example, has a consent form available online.

Having this signed consent form would allow a minor to attend the vaccine appointment with an adult who isn't their parent or legal guardian (for example, if a group of teens are being driven to their appointments together by one of their parents). The form would also allow them to attend the appointment alone.

Resources and Explainers

Since it's possible that each vaccination site has its own guidelines on minors getting their shot without a parent or legal guardian present, be sure to investigate that particular site's recommendations before making the vaccine appointment.

If a minor shows up for a vaccine appointment without a guardian or a signed consent form, that still doesn't necessarily mean they'll be turned away — just that what happens next might depend on the vaccination site.

Dr. Ahmad Kamal, vice chair of the Department of Medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, confirmed that at the Levi's Stadium vaccination clinic, staff will call a minor's parent or guardian to discuss consent on the phone.

"Our goal is to make it easier than ever for young people especially to get vaccinated," said Kamal. Basically, vaccination clinics will work with people who want to get their shot to make that happen, rather than denying them it.


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