Shelby County officials urge kids 12-15 to get vaccinated for COVID-19

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 5:05 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thursday marks the first day kids ages 12 through 15 can get vaccinated in Shelby County.

“That is a huge milestone that adds about 50,000 more eligible people to the pool that could be vaccinated,” said City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer, Doug McGowen.

The FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine emergency use authorization Monday, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) board also recommending the vaccine for those 12 through 15 Wednesday.

As of Thursday morning, city officials said a handful of kids got vaccinated at the Pipkin Building.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Jon McCullers said both of his children are getting vaccinated and encouraged other parents to do the same for their children as more cases of COVID-19 are being reported in younger age groups.

“Now, with the increasing numbers we’re seeing, we’re going to see an increase of numbers in kids that are sick or critically sick,” McCullers said.

McCullers says the death rate of kids who died from COVID-19 is four times higher than that of children who die from influenza.

He also wants to remind parents and children what can happen if kids become infected with the virus like quarantine, which would lead to missing out on end of school and extracurricular activities.

“I think for very selfish reasons, kids ought to be asking for it saying I’m tired of this, I want to get it over with and make sure my school year goes well.”

WMC Action News 5 wanted to catch up with kids who got their first vaccine Thursday, however media was not allowed at any vaccination sites in order to protect kids’ privacy.

City leaders say there isn’t a specific allotment of vaccines for kids, but they are vaccinating about 3,000 people per day.

Parents must be present with their children when shots are administered.

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