THORNTON, Colo. — While positive COVID-19 cases are going up among teenagers, so are vaccination rates.
"I just want to see my family again. I just miss my grandparents," explains 17-year-old Austin Sierra on why he's getting his vaccine.
In just the first two weeks of April, more than 40,000 16 to 18-year-olds received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total to more than 50,000 teens.
"They have prom coming up, some have high school graduations or they have family coming from out of town. They know they want to be prepared," said Colorado Department of Health and Environment Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France.
Dr. Eric France wouldn't be surprised to see the demand for vaccinations among teens briefly declining in the coming weeks while they focus on events like finals and graduation. After that he expects the surge to pick back up and last well into the summer. In the long run, helping with herd immunity.
"Really if you look at over the last year, one of the hardest groups to separate were the young adults, and I would say teenagers are in that group as well," said Dr. France.
A mass vaccination clinic held Tuesday in Thornton on the Skyview Campus allowed students to not only get the shot, but get it with mom and dad. Like in the case of Devin and Stacie Russell.
"It was his decision and I kind of followed in his footsteps, because I wasn’t going to get it actually but because he was wanting to I did," said Stacie Russell.
Dr France calls these in-school vaccination sites a terrific strategy.
"They’re happy to walk down the hall and get it taken care of. That’s why it’s important for this vaccination (clinic) happening today, because otherwise they may not care enough to make the extra effort over the next couple of months," said Dr. France.