Young teens are getting the COVID-19 vaccine

After over a year of quarantine due to the coronavirus, the vaccine has allowed for places to reopen and for people to go back to their jobs and school.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been in use since December 2020 and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was approved in late February for people 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine was given emergency authorization by the Center For Disease Control for teens 16 and older beginning in April and for children, 12-15 years old in May. The vaccine and the dosage are the exact same for people of all ages, according to the Miami Herald.

Pfizer may not be the only vaccine available to children for long, as Moderna has started testing its vaccine in children ages 12 to 17 and may win authorization this month, according to the New York Times.

In September, Pfizer plans to seek emergency authorization to make its vaccine available to children ages 2 to 11, according to the New York Times.

Though the risk of severe illness in a child who contracts COVID-19 is less likely than adults, they are still at risk of being affected by it. Over 4 million children in the United States have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Chase Klein, who is 13 years old, received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on May 14 and received her second dose June 4. 

“I got vaccinated because I understand the danger of COVID-19, and I know that being vaccinated can save my life and thousands of lives around me. It’s been over a year of being home and I was fully ready to partake in life as close as it was before,” Klein said.

Klein is among thousands in her age group who have already received the vaccine. According to Reuters, less than a week after the vaccine was approved to give to 12 to 15-year-olds, over 600,000 have been vaccinated. Also more than 4.1 million people, and counting, in the age range of 12 to 17 have been vaccinated. 

Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious disease specialist, expects that there will be enough data to support children of all ages to be vaccinated by the end of this year. 

Additionally, Brentwood School has begun to distribute vaccines to all current and incoming Brentwood students and their family members or guardians. They offered the first dose on May 22 and they will offer the second on June 12.

Gabriel Freedman, 15, was vaccinated at Brentwood School and discussed his reasoning behind wanting to get vaccinated. 

“I wanted to get vaccinated just to protect myself, my family and everyone else. I also wanted to support more general immunity,” Freedman said. 

Furthermore, there have not been many cases of children in this age group having severe reactions to the first dose of the vaccine.

One example of this is Freedman, as he too, barely experienced any side effects from his first dose.

“I wasn’t scared for the first vaccine — a little for the second though. I just had a sore arm and felt good otherwise,” Freedman said.

The distribution of vaccines has helped Los Angeles move into the yellow tier. This transition has led to many restaurants and businesses beginning to offer indoor options at limited capacities. 

Students are already feeling a sense of relief after receiving the vaccine. Their lives have already begun to go back to the way they were before the pandemic, just in time for the start of the summer.

“After nine days of being vaccinated, I’m already feeling my life shift. Most of my friends have received their first doses and were already planning our summer as fully vaccinated teens,” Klein said. “I’ve felt comfortable around people and I know that once I’m fully vaccinated my life will change dramatically.”

Since the vaccine is now available to people of all ages over 12 years old, many parts of the world are beginning to open up again. California is planning to end the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in most indoor settings on June 15, according to the L.A. Times.

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