Fourteen-year-old Andrew Jenofsky was the first in line to get his shot at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Thursday morning, as adolescents ages 12-15 were given the go-ahead to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“He was very excited,” said his mother, Michelle Jenofsky. “He left there saying, ‘Mom, this is the happiest I’ve been in over a year.’”
The Saugus resident was Henry Mayo’s first of the newly approved age group, following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affirming the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to expand the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine’s emergency use authorization to include anyone 12 and older Wednesday.
For both Andrew and his mother, there was no hesitation, and the decision to get the vaccine was a “no-brainer,” Michelle said.
The matter hits home to the Jenofskys as Michelle’s mother had polio when she was 11, survived and later became a nurse.
“She spent two months in a hospital with polio in a big sick ward with a bunch of kids, and she actually watched kids die and succumb to polio,” Michelle said. “So, that’s sort of been a big part of our narrative about vaccines since I was a kid.”
So, the Jenofskys did their research, reading up on the Pfizer vaccine and asking questions, so they were ready when it was approved for adolescents.
Dr. Morris Yen, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s chief of pediatric medicine, said in a previous Signal interview that this is exciting news, as the vaccine has been proven to be not only effective in preventing severe infection, but also safe, with no major side effects, even in the 12-and-older populations, including in children with high-risk conditions. Preliminary data from 2,260 volunteers ages 12-15 found no cases of COVID-19 among the fully vaccinated teens who had participated in the Pfizer study.
Vaccine providers across Los Angeles County have since begun offering the vaccine to children in this age group, while it should be noted that many county vaccination sites require children to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, or that the child is accompanied by a responsible adult and has a signed consent form. Those under 18 are also required to bring proof of their age at sites that aren’t their health provider.
Public Health is hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall 6 p.m. on Tuesday, which is set to focus on answering adolescent and teen vaccination questions. For a full list of sites across the county offering Pfizer vaccines, visit bit.ly/PfizerSites, and for more information on their vaccination efforts, visit VaccinateLACounty.com.