For the first time since COVID-19 vaccinations began, children age 12-15 were able to get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine today at SUNY Poly's vaccine pod. The Pfizer shot became the first vaccine to be approved for kids younger than 16 earlier this week.
"We've been watching the news, and every day we would be searching to see if it had been approved yet for that age range," said Beth Jones, a Sherrill resident who brought her 15-year-old daughter to get vaccinated. "So as soon as they approved it and New York gave the go-ahead, we jumped online immediately to get the girls scheduled." Appointments are not required to get vaccinated at SUNY Poly.
A key motivation for parents to get their children vaccinated are concerns about going back to school. Almost all of the kids getting their shots today were forced to learn remotely for much of the past year, leading to mental health concerns.
"I think the biggest downfall and the biggest problem with COVID for children has been more mental issues and difficulty being locked up in their homes," said New Hartford parent Erin Gall. "So if this changes that and allows the kids to get back to normal life, I'm 100%. behind it."
The Pfizer vaccine would allow that to happen safely. The pharmaceutical giant’s extensive three-phase trial showed that its two dose vaccine was 100% effective for kids against illness from COVID-19, even more effective than with adults. The shots have also been proven to be safe, with no long term side effects lasting more than a day. Despite some skepticism and misinformation spreading about the vaccine, the parents at SUNY Poly today say they believe in the facts.
"I don't really see it as a political issue," Gall said. "I personally think it's just another thing like the polio vaccine many years ago. It's just something we all have to do, and something that we all have to address."
SUNY Poly's vaccine pod is open seven days a week for walk-in vaccinations. More information on vaccine locations in Oneida County can be found at ocgov.net.