Zoe Morgan/Town Crier File Photo Los Altos High School history teacher Todd Wangsness receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose at Levi’s Stadium in March. Children ages 12 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated.

Children ages 12 and older became eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 last week. Previously, the vaccines were only authorized for those 16 and up.

The federal government has now approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and older. To get vaccinated, those under 18 need a parent or legal guardian to sign a consent form.

In a press release, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody called the age expansion “fantastic news.”

“The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, and I’m thrilled that more of our young people can now get vaccinated to protect themselves, protect their community, and safely return to more activities,” Cody said.

Kids can get vaccinated at various sites throughout Santa Clara County, some of which don’t require appointments and have drop-in availability. Locally, El Camino Health is allowing walk-ins at its Sunnyvale vaccination clinic, 1030 W. Maude Ave. However, appointments are still encouraged.

For a list of drop-in vaccination clinics in Santa Clara County, visit sccfreevax.org. The website also provides links to book an appointment at various sites.

As of last week, nearly three-quarters of county residents over age 16 had received at least one vaccine dose, and over half had completed their vaccinations.

Children under age 12 are currently not eligible to get vaccinated, but trials are underway to test the vaccine on younger kids, and vaccine authorizations could expand in the future.