Chatham County Health Department starts vaccinating 12-15-year-olds

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded Pfizer’s emergency use authorization (EUA) Monday to include 12 through 15-year-olds.

In a press release, the FDA says the company’s vaccine meets criteria to amend the EUA for use on the age group.

Isa Lilja-Vasquez is making history as one of the first adolescents in Chatham County to get the vaccine. After a stressful year at Savannah Arts Academy, she says the moment was a relief.

“I was ecstatic, I was so excited,” she told News 3.

Isla’s mother, Carmen Vasquez, took her to the appointment at the Chatham County Department of Health. Chatham County and Glynn County are currenlty offering the Pfizer vaccine.

“I think as a parent, when you’re doing anything for your kids that’s new, it gives you a lot of trepidation,” said Vasquez. “But it has been very well researched. It’s not very new science that they are coming up with. They’re just editing something that has worked in the past.”

Vasquez says it is the best decision for her family that also includes two young girls who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

Dr. Lawton Davis, the health director of the Coastal Health District, says that is one of the main benefits of the coronavirus shot.

“Adolescences might not recognize that they’re sick, but they could still spread it to someone else,” said Dr. Davis.

Dr. Davis says it is especially important to get the shot now with around 66 percent of Georgia’s coronavirus cases involving a variant, according to data from last Thursday.

“[Kids] may be more easily affected or infected by the variant than they were by the original strain of COVID, he explained.

It is why for the Vasquez family, the vaccine means getting one more step closer to normal.

“I know nothing will compare to what it will feel like to know that you’re safe,” said Lilja-Vasquez.

None of Chatham County’s three mass vaccination sites are currently issuing first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr. Davis says it is likely that the FDA will allow Moderna to start vaccinating 12 through 15-year-olds by June.

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) sent News 3 the following statement in response to the news:

We have offered family vaccinations however, at this time, the District has no additional clinics scheduled.  With less than two weeks left in the 2020-21 SY,. the district is turning the focus to planning for summer school and the start of the 2021-22 school year in the fall.  There are a vast number of community resources available for vaccinations and we are encouraging families to reach out to those vendors as needed.”

SCCPSS Lead Nurse Lisa Wilson

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