Hey, Teens! Now's the Time!
If you are aged 12 – 18, this is your moment... to get vaccinated, that is! Cases of COVID-19, fueled by the Delta variant, are on the rise in our area. Meanwhile, the data proving the effectiveness of COVID vaccines for your age group is available and increasing. The advantages for vaccinated teens is clear.
The vaccine keeps you out of the hospital. Vaccination reduced the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 by a whopping 93 percent. Of teens hospitalized for COVID-19, 97% were unvaccinated. And the vaccine makes cases of COVID less severe, even for those who are hospitalized. For instance, no vaccinated adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 needed the intensive care unit, an area of the hospital used to treat the sickest patients.
Vaccination relates to more fun, safely. If you and your friends are all vaccinated, you can socialize safely without masks and without greatly raising your risk of COVID. It would be like going back in time to 2019. Who couldn’t use a little of that?
Vaccination is good for your future. Getting the vaccine now protects your long-term health. People who are vaccinated have fewer symptoms of “long COVID.” That’s a condition where symptoms of COVID—like loss of taste or difficulty breathing—go on for months or longer. You’ll also miss less school, which could relate to better grades and improved prospects for college or work.
The vaccine protects the people you love. Vaccinated teens are less likely to cause sickness, hospitalization, and death among the older people in their lives. Older people are more likely to get a serious case of the disease. That, right there, is reason enough.
You can still beat the rush. In just a few days to weeks, we expect that the Pfizer vaccine will be approved for those ages 5 – 11. By getting vaccinated now, you can have a relaxed vaccine experience and avoid the mayhem of getting vaccinated with the younger kids.
You can get a two-for-one deal! The flu shot is also available now. It is possible to get both shots during the same doctor's or pharmacy visit. Doing so will give protection to both illnesses. UPDATE: The availability of flu vaccinations at the COVID Resource Center ended October 29, 2021.
It’s free. COVID vaccines are free, and flu shots are covered by just about every insurance. You won’t have to pay a thing to get really high value protection from these deadly diseases.
It’s easy. Get the information you need about vaccine availability at https://svhealthcare.org/COVID-Resource-Center or call your doctor’s office. If you’re 18, no parent consent is needed. Those 12 – 17 can share this article with their parents and talk to them about the importance of getting vaccinated. From there, they can provide consent when registering online or over the phone. They don’t need to be with you when you get vaccinated.
For all of these reasons, getting vaccinated now is your best choice for yourself and the community around you!
Meghan Gunn, MD, is a pediatrician at SVMC Pediatrics and the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.