The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children between the ages of 12 to 15 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this month.
As of May 25, 7 percent of Kern’s adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15 have become vaccinated, Kern County Public Health Department Director Brynna Carrigan said. Youth throughout Kern County have decided to get the vaccine for many reasons.
“I will be vaccinated against Covid-19 because I want to be able to hang out with my family safely and stop the spread,” said 15-year-old Jackie Rizo. “It is devastating to see so many people die from this, and if I am able to help stop that, I will. I have already gotten my first dose.”
The vaccine can cause a few possible side effects within the younger demographic as well. Some possible side effects, according to the CDC, include pain, redness, and swelling in the arm, and tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea within the body, but a few individuals do not experience any symptoms.
However, despite the side effects, health officials say becoming vaccinated is the safest and quickest way to immunity against the virus.
Parents of local adolescents also weigh in on why they want their child to become vaccinated.
“The science has proven that this vaccine will at least help you fight it and be safe so that is why my daughter received the vaccine and I as well who will be receiving it.” says Rizo’s mother.
In the state of California, 38.3 million doses have been administered to residents, and 17 million people are fully vaccinated, which indicates that 43 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
“The more Californians who are able to get vaccinated, the better we can protect our communities and slow the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “Our efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of Californians are paying off, as we’re now leading the country with over 32 million vaccines administered and some of the lowest positivity rates in the entire country. Having vaccines expanded to teenagers is the next step in California’s path to safely reopening next month.”
While the vaccine proves evident to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many are still left skeptical of the vaccine due to its quick production and approval.
“My son does not want to get vaccinated nor do I want him to,” said Juan Nuñez, the father of 12-year-old Juan Nuñez. He does not believe the COVID is that big of a deal, and I agree with him. It is just another virus of the tons that already exists that sicken people or that people die of, so why will we inject foreign items into our bodies? My family also almost never wears a mask, and we have never gotten the illness as well.”
In most states, parental consent is required, and in California parental consent is required except in the city of San Francisco for which parental authorization is not required. Minors now have access to acquiring the vaccine and can be done so by scheduling an appointment at myturn.ca.gov at one of the various vaccination sites that provide the Pfizer vaccine.Those interested in becoming vaccinated can do so at the Kern County Fairgrounds Mass Vaccination Clinic. This clinic offers the Pfizer vaccine from the comfort of your car. The clinic operates Wednesday thru Sunday, 9:30am to 4pm. Appointments can be made at www.MyTurn.ca.gov but are not required. Other vaccinating providers are available throughout the community and can be found on the Vaccinating Providers Map at https://phweb.kerncounty.com/Html5Viewer/index.html?viewer=COVID19Vaccination#.