Teens are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine


digital illustration byMeghan Cox

Teens aged 16 and older in the United States may receive the Pfizer COVID-19. More vaccines are being examined by the FDA to see if they are available to be administered to children as well.

Monika Jurevicius, Sports Editor

Since the release of the COVID-19 vaccines, the US administers an average of over a million doses daily.

The US offers three vaccinations to help stop the spread of COVID-19: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer-BioNTech. At the beginning of distribution, only those 65-years-old and older could get the vaccine. Now, Pfizer has been the only vaccine approved for children. On Thursday, May 20, Palatine High School vaccinated 1,500 students.

“I think the entire older population, who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, should get it [the vaccine] first,” said sophomore Samantha Panfil who has not gotten her vaccine. “I don’t want to take up any doses.”

Most vaccines administered are taken over a two-week period. This helps the immune system slowly combat the virus with a higher immunity chance. The only exception is the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine which is administered one time with a lower chance of effective immunity. The J&J/Janssen vaccine provided a large interest due to its single shot use, which raises herd immunity rates in the US.

“I originally got the vaccine due to my family encouraging me to try and get the vaccine with the option (as a minor) to do so,” said a student at PHS who has received both of their Pfizer doses.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report on the Pfizer vaccine being administered to children on May 10, 2021. The report entails the following information: “FDA determined it is reasonable to conclude, based on the totality of the scientific evidence available, that the known and potential benefits of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 Vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine, for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 12 through 15 years of age.” 

The FDA is looking at the potential of the Moderna vaccine to be available to children in the future. Moderna is currently conducting a trial called “TeenCOVE” that has enlisted 3,235 children between the ages of 12-17. The company is also gathering information for “KidCOVE” a COVID-19 vaccination trial for those aged six months to 11 years old. No information has been released for the “KidCOVE” trial. 

“I find it somewhat bizarre and interesting to be part of an ‘expanding group of vaccinated people’ to the coronavirus,” the student said. “It may seem like a small action to get the vaccine, [but] it still is life changing for me to receive the vaccine.”

As vaccines begin to leave the US to benefit less fortunate countries, vaccine locations close due to decreased interest. To find your nearest COVID-19 vaccination site, the CDC has provided a website called Vaccines.gov to help those still interested.