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Tampa Bay area teen advocates for COVID-19 vaccinations after getting the Pfizer vaccine

16- and 17-year-olds eligible for Pfizer on April 5
Pfizer Vaccine
Posted at 4:29 AM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 10:19:06-04

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — One of the first teenagers in the Tampa Bay area to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now encouraging other teenagers to get the shot as well.

Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one authorized for teenagers who are ages 16- or 17-years-old because the company included them in their vaccine study. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines are authorized for persons age 18 and up.

CONTINUING COVERAGE | 16 and 17-year-olds eligible for Pfizer vaccine April 5

Matthew McCrary is considered medically vulnerable due to his asthma and didn’t hesitate to get the shot as soon as it was available to him with a doctor’s note.

"I wanted to get the vaccine so I could keep my mother safe,” he said.

Matthew has spent the last year in quarantine, online learning and not being able to see friends in person.

“He's been out of school for a year,” said his mother, Laura McCrary. “He misses his friends like crazy and it's just not fair. It's not right.”

For the McCrary family, Matthew being eligible for the Pfizer vaccine is a lifeline.

“He has missed a whole year of his life,” Laura McCrary said. “I mean, from the age of 16 to 17. And that's a huge gap with no friends.”

Any 16 or 17 year old who wants to get the Pfizer vaccine must complete this COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Consent Form.

You can take that to a state-supported or federal vaccination site. Any 16- or 17-year-old who wants to get the vaccine must also be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Matthew had a sore arm after the first dose but no other noticeable side effects. He’s now preparing for the second dose and is excited to return to school next year, fully vaccinated.

“It should help us be able to get this pandemic over sooner,” he said.