Vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds begins in Wisconsin

NOW: Vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds begins in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58/AP) — Coronavirus vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds are beginning in Wisconsin after an advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the inoculations for younger children.

After waiting longer than a year for the possibility, some parents called kids out of school to receive long-awaited vaccines.

“Especially once I get the second dose, I’ll be able to hang out with friends more, and possibly it will be safer, you know, for sports if I really need to, since I have asthma, I might be able to take off my mask for a little bit,” Longfellow Middle School student Grace Kreklow said.

There will be vaccination clinics for the age group at five MPS schools starting Monday, but Milwaukee city leaders say you don’t have to wait for walk-in appointments.

“They can go to the Wisconsin Center today," Milwaukee Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa said. "They can walk in at the Wisconsin Center. They can go to the Southside Public Health Center in my district. Or they can go to the Northwest Public Health Center on the north side of Milwaukee.”

Children’s Wisconsin is now reaching out to children on their waitlist and opening 10 clinics from Kenosha to Mequon.

They want to assure parents the vaccine is safe.

“The side effects profile from this vaccine is very good," Children's Wisconsin Director of Bayshore Pediatrics Dr. Kristin Bencik said. "What we’re seeing is they might have a sore arm. They might have a low grade fever, a little muscle aches.”

Hayat Pharmacy owner Hashim Zaibak said supply is plentiful, and the state is now telling pharmacies to vaccinate anyone possible, without worrying about wasted doses.

“The new message is vaccinate them," Zaibak said. "Even if you have to puncture one vial, for one patient, do it.”

Parents jumped on the opportunity to get their 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated at Aurora St. Luke's Thursday. 

The first pre-teens and early teens walked in with their parents Thursday afternoon, ready as ever to get the shot.

With a quick poke, Lauryn Metzger's joining the ranks of others on the way to being 95% protected.

“Well I just got my vaccine and I’m excited to be almost immune to Covid,” said Lauryn Metzger.

After getting the Pfizer vaccine, what she's thinking of now is getting back to doing what 14-year-old girls do.

“Just going back to normalcy, going to the movies, going to the mall, doing things with my friends,” said Metzger.

Mom, Jennifer, is a nurse.

“It is reassuring. A little bit of concern over long-term effects that we don’t know yet cause it just hasn’t been tested that long, but I think that it’s safe. I think it’s important to get vaccinated,” said Jennifer Metzger.

The FDA amended its Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer this week to include 12 to 15-year-olds and the CDC agreed.

“I told a lot of my friends at school and they were all really scared because they think it’s gonna hurt a lot worse than it actually did. I didn’t feel it when it happened,” said Kyleigh Klukassafranski, 8th grader.

And Kevin Rios can now tell his baseball coach he's vaccinated. This season has been tough.

“Hand sanitizing the ball, to like wear your mask in practice and you can’t breathe sometimes, so it’s kind of hard but it is what it is,” said Rios.

Parents can schedule their child's shot either online at AAH.org or by calling 888-443-2584.

Aurora urges parents to do so, saying "We know the vaccine is safe and effective."

According to the Academy of Pediatrics, as of Thursday, 3.8 million American children have had Covid, though their symptoms, for the most part, are not as severe as that of adults. 

The Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses for full protection, is the first and only vaccine available for the age group.

The coronavirus accounted for 1.3% of all deaths among adolescents between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 30, or 127 deaths overall. In Wisconsin, there have been three deaths from COVID-19 of people age 19 and under.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin declined for the tenth consecutive day Wednesday to 492, down 297 cases from a month ago.

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