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Parents, schools prepare for young teens to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 12 to 15 early next week, and some parents and school districts in the Madison area are making sure they're prepared when the decision comes.

The Verona Area School District (VASD) is working with Fitchburg Family Pharmacy to hold a vaccine clinic for its students on May 17.

VASD spokesperson Raechelle Belli said the district wanted to start on planning the clinic before the emergency authorization comes because of the level of work necessary to prepare the event.

"A lot goes into setting up these clinics," she said. "We wanted to make sure that we got a head start on getting this scheduling done and getting the setup all prepared."

The district sent out signups for the 432 appointments on Wednesday morning. Belli said all appointments were filled by 3:30 p.m.

"It shows us that our families were really looking forward to that and hoping for that and wanting that as an opportunity for their children."

The district isn't alone in making plans ahead of the FDA's expected authorization of the expanded use of the Pfizer vaccine.

Darsee Vanderloo has already made a vaccine appointment for her 12-year-old son Pierce.

She said she signed him up as soon as she saw Fitchburg Family Pharmacy was scheduling appointments for children as young as 12.

"I went on right away, then at 11:00 p.m., and got him in," she said."Now, we just have to keep our fingers crossed that the timing works out the way they hope it will so that he actually does get it on Thursday."

Vanderloo told 27 News her son is scheduled for the pharmacy's first appointment for children younger than 16.

Pierce said he's ready to get his first shot because he sees it as his ticket back to his pre-pandemic life.

"I'm excited because I'll be able to have a mostly normal summer," he said.

Vanderloo said her family has kept strict COVID-19 protocols during the pandemic, but once Pierce gets his shot, the whole family will be vaccinated.

"We felt like following science was so hard during the lockdown and having to make really hard choices on behalf of our kids, and we feel like, for us, this is a much easier choice because it means a little bit of freedom," she said.

The Vanderloos said they're looking forward to celebrating a high school graduation this year, getting back into their routine of swim lessons and attending summer camps again.

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Caroline Dade

Reporter/Multimedia Journalist, 27 News

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