DALLAS - With the green light from the CDC, children as young as 12 have started lining up in Dallas for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wasted no time for his family. He brought his 15-year-old daughter, Madeline, to work to be vaccinated Thursday morning.
He spoke about the importance of getting this age group vaccinated.
"This last week, 21% of the reported cases were in children 1 to 17 years old," Jenkins said.
A Pfizer trial with 2,200 participants ages 12 to 15 found seven cases of swollen lymph nodes related to the vaccination that went away within one to ten days.
Some participants also had other mild side effects similar to clinical trials with older ages groups.
Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang said the vaccine is safe.
"These vaccines work. They're great public health achievements," he said.
Parents and young teenagers also drove to the Ellis Davis Field House to be some of the first young teens to get the shot.
Parents were in line with their kids as early as 5 a.m. in order to get the Pfizer vaccine.
Some of the teens said they were nervous to get the shot, but felt a sense of relief afterwards.
The Ellis Davis Field House is one of the vaccination sites run by Parkland Hospital where no appointment is necessary, along with Dallas College's Eastfield Campus in Mesquite and the hospital itself.
"I feel relieved that I don't have to worry about if I affect others around me," said 14-year-old Diego Brown, who got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.
Brown's dad, a nurse, drove him.
"Everyone in the house is vaccinated and now he is," Diego’s father, Everett Brown, said.
"I don’t wanna be one of those people that, you know, breaks it up for everybody else at school because I’m the one that got COVID and it being shut down," Diego added.
"It’s important that we make sure he’s vaccinated so he’s protected and we contribute to herd immunity," Everett said.
A 13-year-old was in the car behind them, along with her mother.
"I knew it was best for her. I personally had COVID and it was something I do not want her to experience or anyone for that matter. I think it’s beneficial. The research behind it is strong. So I feel it was something she needed on the first day," added Wintrill Maiden, whose daughter got the vaccine.
"I feel like I have more freedom to go around and do more things, be less worried about COVID," 13-year-old Kailyn Maiden said.
Some school districts are moving forward quickly.
On Saturday, Mesquite ISD is holding a vaccination drive for students at K David Belt Professional Development Center, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no appointment is required.
On Monday, Arlington ISD students can get their vaccine at the athletics center, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The clinics for Arlington and Mesquite ISD students are also open to parents, teachers, and staff who want to get vaccinated.
Major hubs in Dallas and Denton counties will start vaccinating children ages 12 and up on Friday.
Many pharmacies and clinics have also opened up appointment to teenagers.
Parents are grateful for options.
"I was stalking websites last night trying to get her in somewhere," Wintrill Maiden said.
A legal guardian must be present in order for minors to get vaccinated.