Columbus community members weigh in on teen COVID-19 vaccination

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 9:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Teenagers 16 and older in both Georgia and Alabama are now eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine and the shots may soon be approved for even younger children.

Health officials report many parents and their teens are not showing enough interest in receiving a dose.

Columbus mother of two, Brandi Dawson, reports it was hard to make a choice for her two children not knowing much about the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. She says it is not just a personal choice, but it is a family one too.

“I just had to make that decision like if I was going to take the risk and let him take it and just monitor him, or do I take the chance of him going out and potentially catching this virus,” she said.

While some local parents are saying now is the time for their children to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccine, others are not.

“Within the last week, we have vaccinated about 100 teenagers in our health district,” said Jack Lockwood, risk communicator for the Columbus Health Department.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for teenagers 16 and up in Georgia and Alabama, but Dawson says there still is not much information on its effects on kids, which contributed to her hesitancy before okaying the shot for her son.

“They are not making it known to parents to help us make a comfortable decision as far as what is in it? What are the long-term effects?” she said.

Lockwood says one way they are helping is trying to target groups who show hesitancy like parents with teenagers, and hold specific vaccination clinics for them to make the process easy and comfortable.

“Most of our clinics are done throughout the day, between 9 and 2 p.m. so we decided to do a clinic that is more based around teenagers and their parents so we could accommodate them later in the day,” he said.

There will be a drive-up vaccination clinic in the parking lot at the health department on Veterans Parkway Monday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parents will need to be with their 16 and older teens.

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