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'I've Been Missing My Friends': Teen With Spina Bifida Looks Forward To Vaccine Approval For Younger Ages

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Here in Minnesota, students ages 12 to 15 could get a COVID vaccine as soon as next week.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for that age group in a matter of days. In the Twin Cities preparations are already underway.

Thirteen-year-old Maddy Lavalier of Cottage Grove is a people person. But the pandemic has shut down her socialization.

"I've been missing my family, I've been missing my friends and this is not something that I would usually say but I miss school, too," Maddy said.

Maddy has lots of plans she'd like to get to. She also has spina bifida.

Maddy Lavalier
(credit: CBS)

"I have had different immune systems and I will easily get sick more than the usual person," she said.

She's had to be extra careful, so she is extra ready to be one of the first in her age group to get a OOVID vaccine.

"I'm scared of needles, I'm not a huge fan of them, but I'm willing to get as many needles as it takes to be able to be fully vaccinated," Maddy said.

She will likely get those shots here at Gillette Children's Vaccination Center, where they are ready and waiting. Dr. Madeleine Gagnon is associate medical director of pediatrics at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. She says as a mother and doctor she is excited.

"The prospect of being able to vaccinate 12- through 15-year-olds as early as next week, in the coming weeks thereafter is simply thrilling," Gagnon said.

She says they've had a solid rollout on older teens and plan to get right to work once they get the go from the FDA and the state.

"The hopeful would be in the coming week to weeks that this would be, as soon as we are able to make this happen that all wheels would be set in to go," she said.

But not all parents are on board, something she wants to speak to.

"These vaccines have gone through extensive clinical trials on children," Gagnon said. "These vaccines are safe, these vaccines are incredibly effective and frankly they're our best hope to putting an end to this pandemic."

Maddy plans to be at the front of line. At the mention of getting the greenlight, she lifted her arms in celebration.

Gagnon says if children have other upcoming vaccines, its good to talk with their health provider about timing out the shots.

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