On May 10, the United States Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization from Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended its use. Exactly a week later, 13-year-old Ethan Gann of East Hardwick got his first shot.
Ethan Gann co-reported this story with Anna Van Dine of VPR. Audio for this story will be released.
Anna Van Dine: Last Wednesday afternoon after a lonely day of school, Ethan, his mother and twin sister Sadie traveled to Hyde Park to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“It’s going to make sure that I don’t have to wear my mask that often, and I can be with friends without worrying about something going on.” – Sadie
Ethan Gann: Sadie and I were in the back. I felt a little nervous; she was not.
âI’m especially thrilled to receive the vaccine,â Sadie said. “Because, I don’t know, it’s going to make sure that I don’t have to wear my mask so often, and I can be with friends without being afraid that something will happen.”
Ethan Gann: If you are an adult, it may not be a big deal that I go for the vaccine. But because I’m 13, I kind of got used to the idea that I just wasn’t going to get it. I watched my parents get vaccinated, my teachers and my older sister, who is 18 years old.
Anna Van Dine: Here in Vermont, there were over 7,000 registrations in the first 24 hours that children of Ethan’s age were allowed to be vaccinated.
Ethan Gann: My mom signed me with Sadie right away. At school, kids would talk about when they were going to get it, whether they were going to get it, and whether or not they were nervous. Most of them were going to get it, and most, like me, were a little nervous.
Anna Van Dine: During the first week of registration opening, even more people registered. There are about 27,000 12 to 15 year olds in Vermont and, according to Health Commissioner Mark Levine, âabout 60% of them have already received the needle or are expecting it. So that’s really good.
This age group became eligible when Vermont stopped requiring that vaccinated people wear masks. And the school is going out next month. Thus, children 12 to 15 years of age have not only achieved vaccine eligibility; they can be in an almost normal summer.
‘We have nothing to do’: How Vermont teens are having an unusual summer
Ethan Gann: Can’t wait not to wear a mask, for one. I’m also very excited that I don’t have to worry about responsibilities – I’m free to do whatever I want. It’s the best thing about summer. But what about back to school?
Adam Rosenberg, the principal of my school district, said COVID-19 precautions like masking and distance all depend on how many people get the vaccine. âWe are really looking into next fall in the hope that things will ease up,â he told us.
Anna Van Dine: Rosenberg said he expected to receive more advice from the Education Agency next month. He is also thinking about how he can track the number of children who have been vaccinated. It is also possible that schools may prescribe the vaccine at some point, according to Dr. Levine.
But even if enough students get vaccinated, “normal” may be fair to middle school and high school students. There are many Vermonters who are under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for any of the vaccines.
Ethan Gann: I also have an 11 year old sister, and she might not get the vaccine for months. I feel a little bad for her – I know what it’s like to wait.
âI want you to get back to normal and be able to hang out with your friends, and not worry about saying, ‘OK, put on your mask; stand six feet apart, you’re too close ” because that’s not what childhood is. “- Sadie and Ethan’s mom
Right now it’s just me and Sadie. When we got to the vaccination clinic, I logged in and the nurse took me to a vaccination station.
Sitting in the chair, I thought back to last March, when the school first walked away due to COVID-19, and every day since, wondering when it’s going to end. And that was it. And what I was feeling wasn’t so much nervousness, it was like … Christmas.
âOK,â said the nurse, âjust a quick little choice, keep that arm nice and relaxed.
It looked like nothing. “Did you do it?” I asked him.
“I did it, you are done!”
And that was it. My mom, sister and I came home.
In the car, my mother told us that she was glad that we were finally able to benefit from the vaccine.
More than Vermont Edition: Vt. May lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions soon. Here’s what you need to know
âI want you to get back to normal and be able to hang out with your friends, and I don’t mind saying to myself, ‘OK, put on your mask; stand six feet apart, you’re too close, because that’s not the point of childhood. It’s not like being a teenager; you’re supposed to connect with people your age, “she said.” And I’m glad you got this again. “
I am also excited. To be vaccinated is to be able to do things again, like going out with friends or going to the movies. We have lost so much freedom because of COVID-19, and now we can get it back.
Do you have questions, comments or advice? Send us a message or contact journalist Anna Van Dine @annasvandine.
We have closed our comments. Find out how to contact us here.