GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Max Seidel was psyched to get his COVID-19 vaccine.
The Jenison freshman was among the first in the 12-to-15 age group — which got the federal OK just this week to get Pfizer’s vaccine — to get a shot.
“So yesterday, we called Meijer’s to see when they would be able to give me the vaccine and they were able to do it later that night,” Max recalled, speaking with News 8 Thursday.
He snapped a photo of himself getting the shot to post to Instagram.
He said the vaccine is the only way out of the pandemic that has kept him from doing the things he likes to do.
“What I thought about immediately was what they would mean for school, how we could have more events,” Max said. “I’m really into theater, so just opening things back up and being able to return to a normal life, so I’m super excited to be a part of that change.”
Many of his classmates agree, he said — apparently it was the only thing anybody was talking about at school Thursday.
“A lot of people were just excited to get an appointment,” he said. “Whenever they get an appointment, they were posting about it on their social media.”
As someone who posted just about every detail of his appointment online, he said the social media conversation may be a huge part of encouraging other teens to get vaccinated.
“It’s different when it comes from a student because that student can relate to them and what they want and why they should get this,” Max said.
Pharmacies, hospital systems and health departments around West Michigan have already opened up appointments to kids as young as 12.
At one such clinic at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids Thursday, several 12- through 15-year-olds showed up.
“Oh, I’m so excited,” Grand Rapids Public Schools Director of Health Services Kim Baron told News 8. “It almost brings me to tears, the level of excitement. I can’t wait for kids to get back to school, back to normal, back to five days a week.”
She and other GRPS officials see the greenlight to give doses to younger kids as a game changer.
“There will be less people that have to quarantine, because that’s always our first question as soon as we find out that there is a positive case. Anyone within 3 feet if they are a student, or 6 feet if they are an adult, our first question is, ‘Are you fully vaccinated?’ And if they’re not then they do have to quarantine,” Baron explained.
The district says getting doses to students is also part of its responsibility as part of the community.
“Having the vaccination clinics available in our own schools, in our own communities, where our students and families are very familiar with, that’s a very important equity issue and we wanted to make sure that we are doing our part,” GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby said.