The typical norm for kids is playing together without a care in the world.
But since March of 2020, Johnstown-area cousins Jackson Henning and Lily Lashley-Barbus say life hasn’t been that much fun.
10-year-old Jackson said school has been a challenge.
“The only time you can take your mask off is lunch or snack. It’s been tough,”
His cousin Lily, who is 9 years old, said she’s been concerned for the health of her family.
“Sometimes I got really stressed because I couldn’t leave the house and couldn’t see my friends,” she said.
Just two days after Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children ages 5 to 11 earlier this month, the cousins got their shots together.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children is administered in a smaller dose than adults.
“My vaccine was exciting. At first, I got a little worried that it was going to pinch. But when I got it, it didn’t really hurt,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he didn’t feel any side effects.
He held Lily’s hand during her vaccination.
“I wanted to get it over with because I want my life back,” Lily told us.
Dr. Jill Henning is Jackson’s mom and Lily’s cousin.
She said she’s happy the kids volunteered to do their part in reaching heard immunity.
“I was waiting for it because I wanted to be able to start doing things with him without fear,” she told 6 News.
Dr. Henning said she knows the decision can be difficult for parents, as a mother herself.
From the medical side of things, she’s also an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
With her medical background, she said she’s following the science in the choice to get her son vaccinated.
“We don’t know what the virus could do long term to children. The known that we do know is that the vaccine doesn’t have any side effects in children ages 5 to 11,”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1.6 million additional children got COVID-19 since September, raising the number to 6.6 million total children infected during the pandemic.
“Since we’ve started to get more adults vaccinated in the United States, we’ve seen an uptick in children’s cases because the virus needs a host,”