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A younger bracket of residents now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, West Texas parents react

Shannon Medical Center administered approximately 60,000 COVID doses overall at its COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Ages 12-15 are now eligible.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A whole new group is now able to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 shot. The medical center’s expansion now includes children 12 to 15 years old. A lot more residents are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to the young teen demographic now included.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to expand the company’s emergency use for citizens ages 12 to 15.

Dr. Karl Wehner said having this vaccine is one step closer to overcoming the COVID-19 global health pandemic.

“Until we have everybody vaccinated, we still have the potential of the pandemic increasing,” Dr. Wehner said.

FOX West Texas spoke to a parent of a teen who falls within this new age demographic. Jessica Johnson’s 15-year-old daughter is one of the 17 million younger teens eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She said she is fearful for Johnson, and she will not let her daughter get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I know a lot of very smart people have said that it’s probably fine. But it’s probably not enough for me to do that to one of my kids,” Johnson said.

For Johnson, she is looking at the long-term game as she is looking to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine’s long-term effects.

“I feel like it’s still feels a little experimental, and I wouldn’t want to try it on children until we really know what it’s going to look like in a year, five years, or ten years when we’re making decisions for our kids. We have to think of the long-term effects,” Johnson said.

For other parents like Sara Hilgenberg, they are currently undecided as to; instead, they want to allow their 14-year-old son to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For us, we’re still going to need to do more reading and more research to make sure we fully understand any possible ramifications. We’re not flat out opposed to it or anything, but we just need to understand a little better, so we haven’t made our decision yet,” Hilgenberg said.

Other than the seasonal allergies, Johnson said her oldest 15-year-old daughter has no underlining health issues.

“We are very healthy...she’s very athletic, she’s very active, and so we don’t have any health challenges that really push me to have to consider it,” Johnson said.

The Pfizer vaccine appointment times are now available at the Shannon Medical Center (link: www.shannonhealth.com/covidvaccine) as this is the only version of the shot approved for residents under 18-years-old.