Teens Now Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

15-year-old Marquis Granton from Lacey received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  BRICK – Teens across the country are now being offered the COVID-19 vaccines, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the two dose Pfizer shot for use in youth ages 12 and older for emergency use.

  At Ocean Medical Center’s vaccination clinic in Brick, some teens were already lined up to roll up their sleeves.

  “I wanted to normalize things in our communities, and I wanted to get the vaccine so I can go places,” said 12-year-old Michael Manekas of Howell.

  His mother, Audra Manekas expressed how both Michael and her daughter both wanted to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

  “They’ve been living this (pandemic) for the past year and a half,” Audra said. “They know how important vaccinations are. So, not only do they make the right decision, they made the very responsible decision. I’m proud of them.”

Ocean Medical Center’s President Jason Kreitner wanted word to spread about getting vaccines. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  Another teen, 15-year-old Marquis Granton from Lacey, was quick to visit Ocean Medical Center to receive his COVID vaccine, with nurse Mary VanPelt administering it.

  Now that teens are approved to receive the vaccine, Ocean Medical Center’s President Jason Kreitner explained how this is the time to spread the word about the vaccine.

  “To date, we have administered over 42,000 vaccines, which equals to about 31,000 people. We really want to get the word out that you don’t even need an appointment. You can walk right in and get the vaccine,” Kreitner said.

  Brick Mayor John G. Ducey expressed his concerns as only 33 percent of the population in Brick are fully vaccinated.

  “Our Ocean County towns are all well behind the state’s goal of 70 percent of the state’s population being fully vaccinated,” Ducey said.

  Despite having walk-in appoints and local and state leaders making efforts to promote the vaccine, many are still hesitant to get it.

  According to a study done by the FDA, the Pfizer vaccine was shown as being 100 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 on around 2,000 teens who received it. 

  Although some are concerned about the possible vaccine side effects, Ocean Medical Center’s director of clinical operations Dr. Lisa Antonacci said they should not worry.

Brick Mayor John Ducey urged people to get vaccinated. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  “In terms of side effects, 99 percent of what we’re seeing is pretty mild,” Antonacci said. “It’s typically after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you might be a little bit tired. 24 hours later, have some muscle aches, maybe a little bit of chills. Some people even run a low-grade fever. What’s great about these side effects is we know the drug is working. Also they’re very, very short lived. So 12 to 24 hours later, you’re feeling great again.”

  Dr. Ajay Mathur, an infectious disease specialist at the Brick hospital explained that as vaccination rates increase, cases of COVID-19 are dropping.

  “We still have ways to go. We’re definitely seeing a steady decline in new cases, and along with that a steady decline in deaths across the state as well,” Mathur said. “That’s encouraging and we need to continue that. But it’s up to all of us to continue to promote vaccination, getting people vaccinated, so we can get back to our pre-pandemic, or regular way of life.”