CHARLOTTE — Atrium Health, the hospital system that covers much of the greater Charlotte area, including Stanly County, held a vaccination event May 13 for children 12-15 years old. Earlier in the day, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 was approved for use on 12–15-year–olds, and Atrium wasted no time in setting up an event.
“I’m excited; I got to vaccinate two out of my three children,” Beck Fox, chief nursing informatics officer for Atrium Health, said in a press release. “So, I’m really excited because now we have more family members that are protected and safe and ready to get back to normal things in life.”
The decision by NCDHHS and Atrium to expand vaccines to younger teens followed a “review of safety and efficacy data” by the U.S. FDA and CDC. The Pfizer vaccines had been available only to those 16 and up before the announcement. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still only approved for those 18 and older.
“Having a vaccine for our younger teens brings us that much closer to being able to end the pandemic,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen. “By getting more teens vaccinated they are protecting themselves from the impact of COVID, and they are protecting their families and their communities by stopping the spread of the virus.”
Atrium provided quotes from many of the youth who decided to get vaccinated, asking them what their motivations were, including Brayton Patt, 13, of Charlotte.
“I’m getting my shot so I do not have to wear a mask all the time and hang out with my friends without worrying,” Patt said.
Sophia Berger, a 13-year-old from Indian Trail, added, “It will help stop the spread of the virus and to go back to a somewhat normal life.”
Those interested in getting their child vaccinated can reach out to Atrium Health Stanly at 980-323-4000.