Updated 5:27 p.m. May 17: Revised with additional information

The number of younger Texans now able to get the COVID-19 vaccine continues to grow after state health officials announced children 12 or older are eligible for the shot. 

The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 on May 10. That vaccine was previously limited to those 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines remain authorized only for those 18 and older.

“It is very important that we continue immunizing this group of people because we know that adolescents also can transmit the virus at a similar rate as young adults,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, a pediatrician and the El Paso health authority.

Though Texas will  not require the vaccine for kids to attend public or private school this fall, Ocaranza still encourages parents to get their students vaccinated so they can safely return to campuses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said May 13 people who are fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks and do not need to practice social distancing either outdoors and indoors in all but a few settings. 

The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots, given about 21 days apart. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose.

Anyone under 18 needs written or verbal parental consent to receive the vaccine, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Here’s who is vaccinating El Paso teens:

You can schedule a vaccine appointment through Providence Children’s Hospital. Appointments are available at the hospital system’s four campuses.

You can also make an appointment at Immunize El Paso’s three clinics.

The walk-up clinics run by the city of El Paso and University Medical Center of El Paso, which are at the Downtown Convention Center and the El Paso County Coliseum, have the Pfizer vaccine. Teens are asked to bring a birth certificate or a valid photo ID with them, such as a school ID, and they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

El Paso Community College’s Mission Del Paso campus also has the Pfizer vaccine. The campus vaccine clinic is open every Friday by appointment.

School districts are organizing vaccination clinics, so check with your district. The El Paso Independent School District will have clinics at different high schools throughout May.

Appointments are also available at select CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Albertsons stores.

Cover illustration courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014.