“It’s like a light at the end of the tunnel,” said one 12-year-old boy as he waited in line Thursday morning with his mom at a vaccination site next to Wrigley Field, which opened at 8 a.m.
“It’s like a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Liam Samet, 12, as he walked into a vaccination site near Wrigley Field early Thursday — the first day kids in the 12-to-15-year-old age group were eligible for inoculation.
“COVID has been going on for a long while now, so it’s really exciting to get my vaccine. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends because I’ve talked to my them a lot online so it will be just really nice to be able to see them in person again,” said Liam, who lives downtown and attends Skinner North Elementary School.
Zara Smejkal, also 12, said she was looking forward to more normalcy in playing hockey and baseball, eating out, hanging with pals and traveling.
“It’s kind of nice because I won’t have to worry about COVID as much any more once I get the vaccine,” said Zara, who also attends Skinner North.
Both kids arrived with their moms shortly after the vaccination site in the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way, run by Advocate Aurora Health, opened Thursday morning. The building is next to Wrigley Field.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 to 15 on Tuesday and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the plan Wednesday.
The vaccine is available through pharmacies, private providers and at vaccination sites run by the city.
The F.D.A. declared the Pfizer vaccine safe, saying it offers strong protection for younger adolescents based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers, ages 12 to 15.
The study found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among kids given dummy shots. More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults.
The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose.
Contributing: Associated Press