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Pima County sees huge turnout on first day of vaccinations for children 12 and up

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 11:14 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Health Department held the first-of-its-kind COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic aimed at getting children inoculated on Thursday, May 13.

“The big change for us now is this is the first time we have been able to mobily deploy Pfizer pharmaceuticals,” said Brian Eller, the program manager for the department’s K-12 COVID-19 team.

Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those over the age of 12.

Hundreds of people lined up at Canyon Del Oro High to get their shot; many of them children between 12 and 15 years old.

“COVID sucks; I can say with experience, and I don’t want it again,” said 15-year-old Noeli Barron.

“I’m kind of looking forward to my second year of high school being the true high school experience,” said 14-year-old Shanon Tran.

“I am in student government and we are hoping that with more people getting the vaccine we will be able to do more school events like dances, more football events and stuff,” said 15-year-old Jenna Burns.

“I’m just excited to not wear masks anymore,” said 13-year-old Zachary Phillips. “It’s getting kind of old.”

The county requires a parent or guardian to be present in order for those 12 to 15 to receive the vaccine.

“It’s very convenient to be here and I am happy they are doing it at school,” said Carrie Burns, Jenna’s mom.

Officials said there’s been a big demand for the new age category.

Nearly 250 doses were administered at CDO, with the three other county-run sites also seeing a rush of families.

Eller said he hopes it continues even though children are at the lowest risk for the virus.

“With the Brazilian variant and some of these other variants there has been an increase in the severity of symptoms that youth are facing when they acquire this virus,” said Eller. “One of the biggest benefits for youth to get vaccinated now is they can go back to their families and congregate.”

Pima County will continue hosting pop-up clinics at schools each Thursday.

The next one will be at Palo Verde High from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

No appointment is needed and anyone over the age of 12 is welcome. Again, minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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