Rockford’s 12 to 15-year-olds say they experienced little or no side effects from COVID-19 vaccine

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford-area children 12-to-15 years old continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with little to no side effects, they say.

“It felt like nothing when the needle went in. A bit sore, but nothing terrible,” said Emily Loner, a freshman at Rockford Lutheran.

She is one of the 6,900 kids in that age group to get the Pfizer vaccine after it was approved for use.

“Don’t be scared,” she said. “It’s not dangerous. It does not hurt. It was not bad. The people were very kind. They had you sit down for 15 minutes so you didn’t faint. They were very cautious about giving it, and making sure we were okay. It was just an amazing experience, to be honest.”

Currently, children represent nearly one-quarter of all new reported weekly COVID-19 cases in the U.S. While serious illness from COVID-19 is rare in children, it does occur – thousands of children have been hospitalized and at least 351 children have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

OSF Healthcare physician, Dr. Syed Zaidi, said he has administered several doses of the vaccine and says it feels rewarding to help get kids closer to normalcy.

“I think it’s been very rewarding,” Zaidi said. “I mean, we had a story where a child was getting their vaccine and were not only proud about it, but they got a cookie afterwards. It’s rewarding to see that we are fighting this disease together, and our goal is to win.”

15-year-old Emma James says any potential side effects didn’t concern her, and said she was counting the days before she could finally get the shot.

Non-severe side effects may be experienced following vaccination. The most commonly reported side effects have been pain and swelling at the injection site. Other common side effects include tiredness and headache. Similar to young adults, some adolescents have experienced fever, chills, muscle aches and joint pain, which may be more common after the second dose. These effects are short-lived, however, and most resolve within one to two days.

“I wasn’t really worried about any crazy side effects. I was actually really excited to get my vaccine. I was just relieved I could finally get it,” she said.

She also encouraged others in her age group to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

“I want to get back to normal, and I know this was the safest and easiest way to get back to where we used to be,” James said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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