These 16-year-olds got the COVID-19 vaccine

CBC Kids News • Published 2021-03-15 06:59

So far, only teens 16 and over can get the shot

A handful of teens are among the first Canadians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Rachel Mendonza, 16, is one of Canada’s youngest people to get the shot.

She’s an essential worker because she works part-time as a pharmacy assistant at Shoppers Drug Mart in Mississauga, Ontario.

“It's very important for me to do this,” she said.

She received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot on March 6.

Rachel lives with her parents, who are immunocompromised.

That means their immune systems are weak, making it harder to fight off infection and disease.

Rachel was excited to get vaccinated because it will help keep her parents safe.

“I think everybody should go get vaccinated if they're able to because they can then keep their friends and families safe,” she said.

Smiling girl in lab coat

Rachel works part time at Shoppers Drug Mart, filling prescriptions. (Submitted by Rachel Mendonza)

About 3.8 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada so far.

Another 36.4 million vaccines are expected to arrive before the end of June.

According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, all Canadians will be able to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by September.

Right now the vaccine isn’t available for kids under 16.

Photo of a vaccine clinic

Paramount Fine Foods in Mississauga is where Rachel received her COVID-19 vaccine.
(Image credit: Grant Linton/CBC)

In the beginning, clinical trials focused on adults.

Now vaccine manufacturers have begun trials studying the effects of the vaccine on kids 12 and older.

Without proper testing through clinical trials, the vaccine cannot be recommended for a younger age group.

Another reason kids aren’t being given the vaccine yet is because according to immunology experts, kids often show stronger immune reactions to vaccines than grown-ups.

Other teens in Canada have also been vaccinated.

Bronwyn O'Hearn, 16, from Halifax, is also an essential worker.

smiling girl holding phone

Bronwyn O’Hearn’s fear of needles didn’t stop her from getting vaccinated in Halifax.
(Image credit: Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

She stayed socially distant from her friends this year to continue working at a Halifax nursing home as a long-term care worker.

Brownwyn works in the kitchen at Saint Vincent's Nursing Home.

“I serve food, I talk to residents, you know, I set up their plates. I really like my job here,” she told CBC News.

“It's very relaxed. But, you know, I also get to have some fun with the residents.”

Bronwyn got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in February, and received her second shot last week.

Rachel is booked to get her second dose of the vaccine in April. And she said getting vaccinated was a good experience.

“It was completely painless. They took very good care of me.”

With files from Jessica Ng/CBC, Elizabeth Chiu/CBC, Melanie Glanz and Christine Birak/CBC, John Paul Tasker/CBC

CORRECTION: This article originally stated that Bronwyn O'Hearn received her first vaccine dose in March and was expecting her second dose in April. In fact, she received her first dose in February and her second in March.

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