Parents line up to get their kids vaccinated in Onslow County

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to children 12 and older.
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Health experts call it a pandemic turning point: Children 12 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially approved use of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday, citing the shot’s 100% efficacy among children, according to Pfizer’s clinical data.

Clinics and parents got right to it. StarMed opened its vaccine clinic Thursday to children 12 and older Thursday.

“The reality is, if we want to get back to normal, if we want kids to go back to school safely, this is the way we do it,” said StarMed Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arin Piramzadian. “StarMed is going to be a part of that.”

Health experts said this is a major step forward in the fight against the pandemic. Getting more people vaccinated, they added, means less transmission and a better shot at a return to normal.

Which is why parents like Zach Borge were the first in line to get their children vaccinated, saying the risks associated with the vaccine far outweigh the risks of a severe case of COVID-19.

“Do you really just want to take that chance with your kid getting it, and then either passing it on or having one of those deadly instances?” said Borge. “Even a tiny mili-chance of that is just too much for your own kid.”

Borge put his 13-year-old daughter, Olivia, in Onslow County’s virtual school this school year. But, he says, he feels much more comfortable sending her back to school in-person this fall now that she will be vaccinated. Olivia’s pretty excited, too.

“I want to be able to do things again,” she said. “Like see my friends and go back to school, eventually.”

Health experts say children have a lower risk of severe reactions to the virus, but a higher risk of post-vaccine symptoms. Experts recommend parents still keep a close eye on their children after they get their shot, but no more than they would for themselves.

Experts added that parents should understand that, the same as adults, fevers and other symptoms are a good sign – a sign that the vaccine is doing exactly what it’s meant to do.

“We know that someone that’s younger, that’s healthier is going to have a more robust reaction,” said Piramzadian. “That’s expected and that’s what we want. We want people to have those good reactions, so we expect that in kids.”

StarMed will have five clinics in Onslow County through the upcoming weekend. They’re open to anyone, including children ages 12 and up. You can register here:

-May 14 from 3pm-8pm: Northside High School

-May 15 from 9am-12pm: Piggly Wiggly in Swansboro

-May 15 from 1pm-6pm: Southwest Middle School

-May 15 from 3:30pm-8pm: Grainger Stadium

-May 16 from 8am-5pm: The American Legion in Jacksonville

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