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Many teens become 'fully vaccinated' against COVID-19 in western Washington

Young people 12 to 15 years old were able to get the COVID-19 vaccine after guidelines were expanded on May 13.

SEATTLE — Young people across the country will reach an important milestone this week when they mark 14 days since their second COVID-19 vaccine dose and can say they are fully vaccinated. 

The FDA expanded emergency authorization of the vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds on May 13, and some teens got the shot less than 24 hours later.

High schools and middle schools around western Washington became pop-up vaccination sites as campuses encouraged young people to get the vaccine. Young people who got their second dose on schedule reached that full vaccination status just as school is getting out for the summer.

Siblings Carlee Rollins and Jackson Dewey said they are anxious to see loved ones.  Rollins said they went to get the shot as fast as they could. “It was really important that we got it so we could protect ourselves and other people,” she explained.“I'm really excited to have friends over again this summer."

“It's going to be crazy when everything is going to be back to normal. It's going to be weird to have everything like that again. We've been used to masks,” Dewey said.

Several young people said they discussed getting the shot with their friends, and being vaccinated made them feel more comfortable hanging out with them.  

“Now that I've been fully vaccinated I do think that I'll get back to normal a little faster,” Washington teen Conor High said. “I am excited to hang out with my friends.”

Schools are still requiring masks on campus, and several teens said they will still wear them in crowded settings.

Studies have already begun across the country to determine the safety of COVID-19 vaccines on children under 12 years old. 

According to the latest data on the Washington Department of Health website, more than 67% of Washington residents 16 years and older have at least initiated their COVID-19 vaccination.