Bay Area sites step up to provide vaccine shots to children 12-15

Health experts say getting kids back in class took a major step forward today, now that teens are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. After months out of school and watching adults get the vaccine now kids, 12 to 17 years old are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. "We jumped at the opportunity," said Rachel Eisner from Berkeley.

County public health departments have set up mass vaccination sites at places like San Francisco International Airport and Levis's Stadium in Santa Clara.

Contra Costa County is working with the Office of Education, local school districts and Kaiser Permanente to host vaccination clinics at middle and high schools in the coming weeks. 

Families in Berkeley rushing to get the shot the first day it's available. "I'm on a text thread today with all the parents from her soccer team and they're all 12 and 13 years old," said Eisner. "Everybody's trading information about where to get the vaccine, because everyone is so excited about having their children vaccinated."

Health authorities in Berkeley say they've been preparing all week waiting for the day, and say they've seen a sudden rush. That rush coming just as vaccinations were slowing as many of those who wanted to get the shots have already received them. "We've managed to vaccinate well over 50% of our population fairly quickly, and now the work really begins to bring in folks who are, you know, just waiting," said Lisa Warhuus, Berkeley's Director of Health Housing and Community Services.

Berkeley wasn't alone.  Families also lined up across the bay at San Francisco International Airport. "Don't have to really worry about Covid anymore, and just getting it feels good.," said Brendan from San Bruno.

Health authorities saying vaccinating young people is the next step in protecting the entire population, and also an important piece of the puzzle to get kids back into the classroom. "This is definitely one of the greatest tools in our toolbox for helping to ensure that schools can open in the fall," said Warhuus.

The CDC gave final approval on the use of the Pfizer vaccine for kids in this age group on Wednesday.

Students say returning to in person instruction is a major incentive to get the shots. "There's like vaccines right here, and I'm 12, going on 13 and I want to get back to school," said Lilah Montoya from Berkeley.

Berkeley will now be expanding its vaccination efforts, the city will be working with the school district, offering shots at Longfellow Middle School next week, trying to maximize the number of vaccines they can get into arms before the next school year.