COLORADO SPRINGS — More teens in El Paso County are getting in line to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Right now, the Children's Hospital is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to teens ages 16 and up, but a pediatrician at the hospital says they expect that in the next few weeks, they'll be able to offer the Pfizer vaccine to kids 12 years old and above.
"I think this is really a wonderful thing that we can now offer to children," said Dr. Sara Saporta-Keating, a pediatrician at the hospital. "We're expanding the coverage and protection from COVID-19 which means we may have fewer quarantines circulating COVID-19 in the community."
Dr. Saporta-Keating also mentioned that recent studies have shown that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe among children ages 12 to 16.
"The side effects tend to be similar to what is reported in adults, so nothing that would be unexpected for pediatric population," said Dr. Saporta-Keating.
Currently, the vaccination rate in El Paso County for teens ages 16 to 19 years old, is about 22%.
Some local parents are supporting their children getting vaccinated. Jay Stutz has a 13 year old daughter whose interested in getting the vaccine when she qualifies.
"I hate that when we get together for family get-togethers, and everyone else in the room is vaccinated, except the child in the room," said Stutz. "She's ready for it. I think she's excited because she wants to make sure she's vaccinated and safe and supporting the community."
Meanwhile other parents like Kimberly Hill, a mom of three, want more research to be done on the vaccine.
"My 15-year-old daughter has a lot of allergies, so that is one worry, that I would not know how she would react to it. My son right now, he doesn't really go anywhere, he doesn't really do anything, he's not super high risk. So I dont really see putting him in that position yet," said Hill. "But we're on the brink of summer, so if we can just get to there then I think it will be a lot safer."
The El Paso County Public Health department is also ramping up efforts to get high school students vaccinated. On Friday, staff vaccinated students at two high schools. Next week, they'll be visiting eight more high schools before the school year ends.
Anyone who is younger than 18 years old will need parental consent.
Anyone wanting to get vaccinated at the Children's Hospital can find more information here.