The push is on to get Central Virginia teenagers vaccinated

The push is on to get Central Virginia teenagers vaccinated

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The push is on to get teenagers vaccinated against coronavirus as the nation fights to reach herd immunity. Friday, one local health department brought the vaccines directly to area high school students.

The Pfizer vaccine is available now to teens who are 16 and 17 years old. In the near future, even younger children are expected to be eligible.

“It’s overwhelming for the year we’ve had to finally sit here in the school and be able to give these kids shots,” said Goochland High School nurse Kent Duffey.

Her students lined up Friday to roll up their sleeves.

“A lot of these kids that came in today haven’t even been in school physically all year,” she said. “Just seeing that hope in their eyes...They know what they’ve got to do to get back to normal and these kids are willing to do it.”

That’s because they finally can. The vaccine rollout has happened in phases to allow the most vulnerable to get them first. Now, the Pfizer shot is being offered to 16 and 17 year olds.

“In order to achieve that herd immunity, which is going to protect the entire population, they’re estimating we need to reach about 75% of the population…The only way to reach that is to vaccinate the younger population,” said Dr. Thomas Franck with the Chickahominy Health District.

So the health district is going into the community. Earlier this week, staff vaccinated some 300 students from Hanover schools. Friday, they went to Goochland High and they’ll be back next week.

“We’re hoping by the end of May that 12 to 15 year olds will be eligible,” Franck said.

“They all are just so excited to be back in the building, to get a shot, to know this is really how we’re going to be back next year and be all together,” Duffey added.

Pfizer says kids may have similar side effects as young adults including pain, fever, chills and fatigue, especially after getting the second dose.

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