FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Following the FDA’s authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds on Monday, some adolescents did not wait any longer and received their first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday at UCSF Fresno’s vaccination site at Fresno City College.
“Right now, it’s FDA approved, so we are allowing people who want to get vaccinated early to come in and bring their kids, 12 to 15 year-olds,” said Dr. Kenny Banh, the director of UCSF Fresno Mobile HeaL COVID-19 Equity Project.
Dr. Banh said they spoke with the Fresno County Department of Public Health and agreed that the vaccination site at Fresno City College could do a soft launch on Tuesday for parents and guardians who brought their kids ages 12 to 15 to get their vaccine.
“We’re really excited about it because it opens up another 17 million people in the nation that are eligible,” Banh said in regards to the FDA authorizing the vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Young people who received the vaccine Tuesday were also excited.
“A little bit nervous but also pretty excited,” said 12-year-old Rosey Masutsuvo right before she got her first dose. “I think I’m the first of my friends to get the vaccine and then we could do some more fun stuff because we’ve been quarantining for a long time.”
Rosey Masutsuvo’s mom Annie Masutsuvo said they like to travel and participate in sports, so it was important for them to get vaccinated.
“I just want to encourage all my friends too that it’s safe,” Annie Masutsuvo said. “If you haven’t done it – I’m letting my kids do it. If they can do it, you can do it.”
Fresno County student Lola Miranda got the first dose of the vaccine too on Tuesday.
“The first thing was ‘oh my gosh I can get the vaccine’ because I’ve been waiting a while. I kept asking my mom since December when she got it, ‘mom when are they going to have the vaccine. I just want to get the vaccine please,’ so I was super excited.”
Lola’s mom Christian Faulkenberry-Miranda is a pediatrician.
“I think it’s very important that people vaccinate their kids. As a pediatrician, we’re seeing that kids don’t die as frequently as older adults but we’re seeing some long lasting effects from COVID,” Faulkenberry-Miranda said.
For them, they’ve seen the effects the virus can have on children.
“We have a 14-year-old cousin who got COVID and had some impact to their heart, so my kids are very motivated and know the impacts of what COVID can do,” Faulkenberry-Miranda said.
Lola said a big fear was getting COVID-19 while playing soccer and bringing it to a loved one.
“I always thought it was important for me to get my vaccine because I have a little sister and I have grandparents so even though I may not get as sick, I don’t want to give it to them. And that was my biggest fear with playing soccer. I don’t want to do something I love and risk the health of my family members,” Lola said.
With more people now eligible to get the vaccine, more people could soon be protected against the virus in the Central Valley.
“A large percentage of the pediatric population, they can be asymptomatic carriers or they can get really minor symptoms. If we’re talking about herd immunity, it’s actually really important to get those that are asymptomatic and carrying it and spreading it to others,” Banh said.
The UCSF Fresno vaccination site at Fresno City College is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. – and Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children are asked to be accompanied by a parent or guardian and that they bring a form of identification, such as a birth certificate or a school ID.