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New Ohio law changes the way kids 12 and under can get COVID-19, flu vaccines

Previous state law required a prescription for vaccinations
Teens aged 12 to 15 get COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 5:11 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 22:03:30-04

CINCINNATI — Another hurdle has been removed for young teens to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 6 today, which relaxes the requirement that 12-year-olds bring prescriptions to certain COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

The bill, which went into effect immediately, also re-writes the Ohio rule requiring seven to 12-year-olds to show a prescription for a flu shot.

Now a 12-year-old can get the COVID-19 vaccine anywhere without a prescription as long as they have parent approval. The bill also makes this provision for 7- to 11-year-olds; however, the COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for anyone younger than 12. Monday the FDA approved emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15-years-old.

State Rep. Cindy Abrams co-sponsored the bill and said it was the pandemic that sparked the need to change the law.

"You don't need a prescription,” Abrams said. “You just need the parent or guardian there simply to sign off and say, ‘Yes, please administer the vaccine to my child.’ It just makes sense to have this fall in line with what's currently happening," she said.

The old provisions passed six years ago when pediatrician groups were concerned that younger kids should be getting their immunizations at the pediatrician's office as part of their well-child visits, according to the Ohio Pharmacy Board.

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center vaccine clinics opened up to young teens this week, and doctors there have been doing their best to reach out to the public to answer any questions.

Twelve-year-old Sycamore Junior High School student James McKernan got his first dose at the Sharonville Convention Center on Thursday. His family talked about it, but, in the end, he was all in.

“I was like I really want to do this,” McKernan said. “I feel like in five weeks I can finally vacation again and go on play-dates and sleepovers. I think I'll be a lot more confident going to friends' houses and stuff."

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.