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Florida expands COVID vaccination age to 16 and older starting April 5

However, those under 18 must get the Pfizer vaccine, the Florida Division of Emergency Management said.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When Florida opens coronavirus vaccination eligibility on April 5 to all adults in the state, teens 16 and older will also be included. 

The announcement came Friday from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

However, people under the age of 18 will only be able to get the Pfizer vaccine because it's the only one that has FDA approval for use in that age group.

The state says more information on how people 16 and older will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine will be released soon. 

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida would lower vaccine eligibility to 40 starting Monday and all adults starting April 5.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have recently announced COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials for children 6 months and older.

Both companies are also running clinical trials for kids over the age of 12. Virologist Dr. Michael Teng believes the results from both of those trials could be out by May. Pfizer, which is further along in its trial, will be able to amend its approval as long as the trial is shown to be as effective and safe. 

"They can make an amendment and have it down to 12. And I think that's going to happen within a month," said Dr. Teng.

In order for the state to reach herd immunity in a timely manner, vaccinating younger people will be necessary, explains Teng. Nearly 20 percent of the state's population is under 18. "If you even hope to get to herd immunity, you need to vaccinate the pediatric population," said Dr. Teng. 

Previous estimates for herd immunity against COVID-19 were thought to be between 60 to 70 percent, but Teng warns we could need more. 

“I think the problem here is that we have these more transmissible variants out," said Dr. Teng. "So I think that 60 to 70 percent number was fine for the old, you know, the original version of SARS Coronavirus-2 but it's gotten, we've gotten variants that are more transmissible. So I would say it's probably gonna be higher.”

RELATED: Gov. DeSantis lowering vaccine eligibility age to 40 starting Monday, 18 starting April 5

RELATED: Pfizer begins COVID-19 vaccine trial for children as young as 6 months

RELATED: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

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