RICHMOND, Va. -- Thursday morning was a day 13-year-old Madeleine Rose has been waiting for as she got her first of two shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
"I wanted to get it done as soon as possible," Madeleine explained.
The teen, who did not want to be interviewed on camera, said she felt physically fine after the jab.
"[I'm] not a huge fan of shots, so, I'm glad it's over," Madeleine said. "But I'm also glad that I got it because I think everyone needs to get it."
Thursday marked the first full day kids 12 to 15 could get the Pfizer vaccine after federal and state officials OK'd its expansion late Wednesday.
That means the entire Rose family, including Madeleine's two older siblings, will soon be completely vaccinated.
"I feel so relieved," mother Brittany Rose said. "I've been really anxious for this day and watching closely knowing that it was on the horizon."
Some schools will host vaccine clinics
More than 420,000 additional Virginians are now eligible now that kids 12 and over can be vaccinated.
Pediatrician Dr. Romesh Wijesooriya said getting this age group vaccinated is about more than just offering them protection from the virus.
"The more we can get the population vaccinated, the quicker we get to herd immunity," Dr. Wijesooriya, the Division Chair of General Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, said. "And so while we are protecting each of ourselves or our children, more importantly, we are protecting those who are most medically vulnerable."
Along with already existing paths to vaccination like pharmacies and doctors offices, officials have talked to schools about hosting clinics in schools to help with equitable access.
"Many students may not have transportation to go to pharmacies or other places that are offering it," Dr. James Lane, Virginia's superintendent of public instruction, said. "And so the school is an efficient means for families to be able to access the vaccine."
Officials with the Chickahominy Health District, which covers Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, and Charles City counties, said its plans to hold clinics in each of those school divisions.
However, the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are taking a different approach since most kids in that age group remain in virtual school.
Accordingly, Nurse Manager Amy Popovich said that means things more pop-up or mobile clinics and expanding or changing hours of larger clinics to allow people to come after work.
"At our events, we ask the children are accompanied with an adult. But this adult does not have to be the parent or guardian, it has to be an adult who has permission from that parent or guardian to sign and give consent for that child," Popovich said.
While many spots started offering the vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds Thursday, Virginia's mass community vaccination centers, including the one at Virginia State University, will begin vaccinating that group starting Friday. Those clinics also now accept walk-ups.
Virginians age 16+ now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Register on the Vaccinate Virginia website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343). You can search for specific vaccines as well as which are available near you via the Vaccine Finder website.
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.