ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Two days after the CDC recommended Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds , some local kids became among the first to take advantage of the opportunity. First up for the needle, at UPMC’s Altoona’s Station Medical Center, 6th grader, 12-year-old Landon Burwell, who said, it didn’t hurt and he wasn’t scared.
A disclaimer here–his father is Dr. David Burwell, the Chief Quality Officer, at UPMC Regional Hospitals. But, Landon said this wasn’t all his dad’s idea.
“I really wanted to do this for a long time. I said to my dad. ‘when the vaccine comes out for kids, I really want to get it immediately, because I want to be safer around school and stuff. I want to know I’m safe,’ ” Landon explained.
His 16-year-old sister Emily agreed, saying their parents let her choose whether or not to get the vaccine. gave her the choice.
“I had several people trying to talk me out of it,,” she said, “but that’s mostly at school, but I chose to do it for myself and for people around me.”
Emily is especially concerned about keeping her older relatives safe. Their dad is pleased with their decision
“It’s a very exciting day, very exciting day at our household,” he said, smiling.
Another brother/sister team also came to roll up their sleeves. For 13-year-old Sam Blescia, it’s a matter of doing what he loves, safely.
Sam said, “With sports, nobody’s wearing their masks, so you can be more likely to get it, and I don’t want to miss the baseball season, because I love to play baseball.”
His 15-year-old sister, Sophia is looking forward to being fully vaccinated and not wearing a mask.
“I’m really excited about that. I just want to get back to some normalcy in my life,” she said.
According to Dr. Burwell, that sense of normalcy is within the reach of more Americans, due to the effectiveness of the vaccine, the number of people who’ve been vaccinated, the increasing availability of the vaccine, and the relaxation of restrictions, for people who are fully vaccinated.
“The vaccine lets people be people again. I mean, it really does and that’s why the CDC guidance came out yesterday. Once you’re fully vaccinated, you can resume most, if not all activities, that you did before the pandemic,” he explained.
He said it’s very simple and very easy to get the vaccine. UPMC is well supplied locally, and multiple area pharmacies are also offering it. Anyone 12 and older can be registered to get the vaccine from UPMC, by going to vaccine.upmc.com, or calling 844-876-2822.
Dr. Burwell added that UPMC will be holding vaccine clinics, next week, at the Altoona and Hollidaysburg school districts. The health system is also working with area businesses to set up clinics in their facilities.