DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A steady stream of children and their parents arrived at an Atlanta-area clinic Wednesday to become the vanguard in the nation’s new effort to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds.
More than 1,000 youngsters had appointments at the DeKalb Pediatric Center in Decatur to receive the Pfizer vaccine, which U.S. regulators recently endorsed for children as young as 12. It’s a decision that’s seen as a breakthrough in allowing classroom instruction to resume safely around the country.
Light rain fell as families with lanky teens trundled in, directed by staff to make their way inside to receive the shot before heading to a waiting area where they would be monitored briefly for any lingering side effects.
"It just felt like a flu shot, honestly,” said Meredith Rogers, a middle school student from Decatur, after getting her vaccination.
Michelle Rogers, Meredith's mother, said she hoped the youth vaccinations would help bring some normalcy back.
“A little apprehensive, but you know what? This is a step towards getting life back to normal so, we’re all in,” Rogers said with a slight fist pump.
There was a waiting area inside and outside for an overflow of vaccination recipients. A plastic tray of snacks, cookies, crackers and bottled water was available near the exit.
Dr. Jane Wilkov, who oversaw the day’s affairs, said they were in a position to administer as many as 1,300 shots Wednesday.
“We’ll probably do 1,200 to 1,300 today. Maybe a little bit more,” Wilkov said. “It’s raining. Some people were so anxious that they went and got the vaccine yesterday and didn’t wait for their appointments today. But we’re here. We’re ready."