DENVER (CBS4) – Everyone 16 and older is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 3% of the Coloradans who have been vaccinated are teenagers. The state has focused on educating vaccine hesitant communities, often people of color. However, doctors say there’s also some hesitancy among younger groups.
Denver Public Schools is hosting clinics to make the vaccine more accessible for eligible students. Thousands have taken advantage of weekend slots at local high schools.
“I feel like it’s important to get vaccinated to, like, simmer down the virus,” said Aliziya Oliva, a Denver high school student. “It was quick. It was painless.”
This is a time when most teens are thinking about prom or college, but the vaccine has changed the conversation. The COVID-19 vaccine is proven safe for teens, but some are still on the fence.
“I’ve been talking to all my peers about it. I’ve been talking to my parents. I’m not 100% sure yet. I probably want to do a little bit more research on it before I really know whether I’m going to get it or not,” said Sienna Clark, a high school junior.
In many states, teens and young adults are transmitting the COVID-19 virus faster than other age groups. Schools are encouraging students to get vaccinated, but misinformation is causing some to hold off.
“There’s a serious concern about fertility with the Pfizer vaccine. The kids are talking about it and they’re worried about it,” said Dr. Sonja O’Leary, Medical Director of the Denver Health School Based Health Centers. “It’s misinformation, it’s not true.”
O’Leary says making sure teens have the right information about the COVID vaccine is key. She says children younger than 16 might be eligible soon. Pfizer recently requested authorization to expand its COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents.
“We’re waiting to hear when we’ll be able to start vaccinating our over 12 year olds, which will be super exciting,” said O’Leary.
Pfizer is also conducting studies on the vaccine in children ages 6 months to 11 years old. For more information on upcoming DPS vaccine clinics, click here.