COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Within a day of the CDC recommending Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12-15, OhioHealth started administering the shot to the age group.
“I was a little nervous of how it was going to feel, but now I just feel like it’s worth it,” said Solomon Graham after he received his first dose at Riverside Methodist Hospital Thursday.
The 12-year-old joined his 14-year-old sister Olivia on the first day of Ohio’s vaccine availability for ages 12 and older.
“I think it’s important to get vaccinated so that you can protect others not only yourself but others as well because we’re all desiring some sort of normalcy and I just think this is the first step,” said Olivia Graham.
Their father, Christopher Graham, explained the family had been following the research and looking forward to having every member fully vaccinated.
“I know things are never going to be quite back to normal, but this just gets us a little bit closer there,” he said.
Roop Bhullar and Kia Rasekhy brought their 13-year-old to the Riverside Hospital vaccine clinic on Thursday. Both parents work as pharmacists and said they trust the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
“I think as we’re starting to move towards 80 percent of the population getting vaccinated — that’s really the one path out of this,” said Bhullar.
Jahan Rasehky added, “I wanted to get the shot just because it protects me, my family and friends.”
Earlier in the week, the FDA granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for the age group after the company’s trials found the shot was safe for young teens and virtually eliminated the risk of contracting the virus.
“Knowing collectively, with 6 months of use of this vaccine and those studies, we know that this vaccine is safe and effective,” explained Dr. Joseph Gastado, an infectious disease specialist at OhioHealth. “These vaccines are not experimental. The experiment is not getting vaccinated.”
Dr. Gastaldo said opening up availability to children will help increase Ohio’s percentage of the population vaccinated, and it will be critical to educate families on the safety and importance of the vaccine.
“We need to prioritize vaccine access, vaccine equity and to engage everybody in a respectful, non-judgmental manner to get their questions and their concerns addressed,” he said.
Most providers will begin offering the Pfizer shot to children 12-15 by next week. 12-year-olds will need a prescription from a doctor to receive the vaccine at a pharmacy.