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COVID-19 Vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds

Adolescent girl receiving vaccination.

On May 10, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for use in adolescents ages 12-15. On May 14, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued an interim recommendation in support of the EUA for the prevention of COVID-19 in adolescents ages 12-15.

Additionally, CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated people, including adolescents, no longer need to wear masks in most situations. These announcements come as many families are looking forward to summer plans, including camp, youth sports, and travel. Authorization also comes as young people make up a rising proportion of new coronavirus cases in the United States.

Vaccinating adolescents is an important step toward stopping the spread of COVID-19. Yet adolescent vaccination has been met with mixed reactions, with some parents eager to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 and others expressing hesitancy. Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine was found to be safe and effective in 12- to 15-year-olds in clinical trial. Side effects were generally consistent with those experienced by people ages 16-25. Side effects are normal signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many people, including adolescents. But as more people become eligible for vaccination, we have reason to be hopeful. In addition to preventing severe illness, COVID-19 vaccines will help adolescents safely return to doing the things they love – whether that’s school, sports, and other extracurricular activities, or socializing with friends. If you or someone you know is considering adolescent COVID-19 vaccination, talk with your pediatrician or family physician about the benefits of vaccination. CDC also has resources on credible vaccine information, and support for teens and young adults facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recent updates for people who are fully vaccinated


We are regularly monitoring new data as it comes in and reviewing the science to inform our guidance and decision-making. Based on the latest science, we can say that anyone who is fully vaccinated can resume activities – indoor or outdoor – safely without a mask or physical distancing.

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What you should keep doing: 

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. 
  • Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

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