Monday was the last day for teens to get the first of a two-shot COVID-19 vaccination in order to be fully protected before the start of school next month.
But experts said it would be better to start late than skip the shots, while some parents are still reluctant about getting their children vaccinated.
Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for children 12-years and older.
Dallas County’s Jefferson Clinic in Oak Cliff is the county’s only immunization clinic that provides the optional COVID-19 shots for kids, along with all the other immunizations kids are required to have for school.
Claudia Cardosa was at the clinic Monday with her 12-year-old son Paul Mandarino to get the COVID-19 protection for her child. She said she is scared of COVID-19.
“I had one family member that was really sick in the hospital so, definitely,” Cardosa said.
Another parent who declined to give her name said she got the other required vaccines for her children, but not the COVID-19 shots. That parent said she had a mild case of COVID-19 herself and worries more about possible future problems from the vaccines that are not currently mandatory for school.
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“That is playing with fire,” said Dr. Miguela Caniza, an infectious disease expert at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Caniza said that test have shown COVID-19 vaccines are safe, but history has shown the virus is deadly.
She said getting a vaccine is even more imperative with the aggressive Delta variant spreading around the country.
“If you cannot get it today for some strange reason, just get it as soon as you can,” Dr. Caniza said.
Alfredo Sanchez, a 17-year-old student, said he got vaccinated in April, as soon as the Pfizer vaccine was approved for people under age 18.
“I just don't want to be sick. I don't want to be home,” he said.
His mother Delecia Velasquez said she got vaccinated at the same time.
“Actually, I was afraid of the vaccine but I said get it out of the way, just to be safe,” she said.
Dallas County is offering passes to Six Flags as rewards for students who receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Oak Cliff Clinic any day this week or at Fair Park on Saturday.
Appointments are necessary at county-sponsored locations.
But COVID-19 vaccines are available at many other locations, according to Dallas County Health Department spokesman Christian Grisales.
“Now the vaccine is more available at pharmacies, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens. there are multiple places where people can go and get the vaccine,” he said.
Paul Mandarino said he was happy to receive his first shot Monday.
“It's a good thing to do because maybe you'll get it later, maybe you won’t get it later. You never know. It's better to get it right now,” he said.
The final day for vaccinations at the Fair Park location will be Saturday, as other places have received vaccine supplies.