TAMPA, Fl.-- — Some Florida teens will soon be eligible for the COVID19 vaccine.
The state previously announced eligibility will open up to all Floridians 18 and older on April 5. It’s now confirmed starting the same day, 16 and 17-year-olds will also be eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one authorized for that age group, having included them in their vaccine study.
“I’m really excited. We’ve seen such great results so far with the older population who has received a vaccine and being a pediatrician and seeing how hard our youth, especially our teenagers are struggling with the mental health effects of the pandemic, it really gives me a sense of hope of eventually overcoming this,” said Dr. Lisa Cronin, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center.
She said she’s talking to parents about understanding how the immune system may respond and lead to protection.
“I think it’s really important for families to know the vaccine can’t give you COVID, those symptoms don’t mean you have COVID, those symptoms don’t mean that your sick, it’s just your immune system going into action so that’s definitely something like I said I’m spending some time counseling the parents of my patients who hopefully can get the vaccine soon,” she said.
Dr. Cronin said my protecting them, hopefully, it will help decrease community spread.
“I think it’s important not only for me but everybody around me. I think it will help lower the cases lower the deaths,” said Daniela Mancilla.
The 18-year old said she plans to get the vaccine as soon as she can. She already knows the impact of COVID19, having previously fell ill with it.
“It’s something that doesn’t only affect you for a short amount of time it really does affect you in the long term,” she said.
Though her senior year of high school didn’t pan out how she initially envisioned, but she’s focused on respecting others.
“ I think it’s just really important to be courteous to others continue wearing your mask and thinking really deeply about getting the vaccine,” she said.
This week, a clinical trial started to study whether people who are vaccinated can get infected asymptomatically and if so, if they spread the infection to others, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
They’re studying thousands of college students and their close contacts across the country, including some in Florida.
“This will help inform science-based decisions about mask use and about social distancing post-vaccination,” said Fauci.
The state has not yet announced the process for 16 and 17-year-olds to sign up, but ABC Action News will keep you updated.