Updated: April 30, 2021 04:17 PM
Created: April 30, 2021 05:45 AM
Minnesota health leaders are hoping to get more teens vaccinated this weekend ahead of big spring events.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS went to one vaccine location that is prioritizing teens at the Mall of America and talked with people about their views on teenagers getting vaccinated.
Patti Coffey was at Mall of America getting her second COVID-19 vaccine.
"I want them to be healthy and be happy and be out in the world," she said.
Jess Coffey was also getting her second COVID-19 vaccine. She's also hoping teenagers follow their path as state health officials say they're still seeing an uptick in COVID-19 vases among younger Minnesotans.
"I would like them vaccinated," Jess Coffey said. "It helps us be safe, it helps them be safe."
Friday and Saturday, 16 and 17-year-olds can continue to get the Pfizer vaccine — the only shot approved for those ages — at Mall of America. The cutoff for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines is 18.
Earlier this week, Gov. Tim Walz said teens are crucial to Minnesota's goal of a statewide 80% vaccination rate and herd immunity.
With school spring events such as prom and graduation around the corner, health officials are reminding teens that although they are at a lower risk of severe COVID-19, a lack of caution in this age group could upset the state's progress.
"You are thinking about prom, it's a happy memory for a lot of people, and we want kids to be able to participate but we want it to be done safely and so we want to make sure that they are thinking about all of this guidance," Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said. "Not only for the official parts of the event but also for the extra parts."
Teens and their families are encouraged to schedule an appointment via Mall of America here. Teens in other parts of Minnesota looking for a vaccine closer to home are encouraged to go on the state’s Find My Vaccine map to find a local provider offering the Pfizer vaccine near them.
Meanwhile, Walz said this week, efforts to vaccinate teens have also included pop-up clinics in local schools around the Minnesota State Fair vaccination site with doses from the State of Minnesota partnership with FEMA.
Minors under age 18 cannot be vaccinated without consent from a parent or guardian.
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