Cook County leaders, along with Cook County Health physicians, staff and their children, came together on May 13 to urge families to get their adolescent children vaccinated from COVID-19.
On May 12, the CDC formally recommended the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents, ages 12-15.
“This is a momentous occasion in the fight against COVID-19,” said Israel Rocha, Cook County Health CEO. “Expanding the emergency use authorization will increase vaccine access to tens of thousands of kids across Cook County. This will not only provide protection to more people, but it will help expand community immunity, which is particularly important to those who are most vulnerable to severe disease.”
In its trial, the Pfizer vaccine showed 100 percent efficacy in adolescents with only minor side effects.
“As parents, we often face difficult choices when it comes to keeping our kids safe, but I feel the decision to vaccinate them against COVID-19 is an easy one,” said Dr. Gregory Huhn, vaccine coordinator at Cook County Health. “The Pfizer vaccine has been studied and shown to be safe and extremely effective for 12- to 15-year-olds.”
Dr. Huhn’s daughter Sophia, along with other children of staff, spoke about why they were looking forward to being vaccinated, with answers ranging from “being able to be around my grandparents” to “wanting to have a normal freshman year.”
Adolescents and anyone can walk in to be vaccinated at CCH mass vaccination sites, although the Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved for individuals ages 12-17. Families should visit myshotcookcounty.com/locations to ensure the site is distributing the Pfizer vaccine.
Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at Cook County Health vaccine sites.
Nearly 50 percent of Cook County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 1 in 3 residents in the county are fully vaccinated.
The Cook County Department of Public Health is working to provide guidance for vaccine distribution.
“We are working closely with all of our partners to help us reach children this age and their parents, to not only answer questions but in many cases to provide the vaccine directly,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
To get the latest information on vaccine sites and hours, or to sign up for an appointment, visit myshotcookcounty.com/locations or call 833-308-1988.