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New Yorkers Age 16 And Up Can Now Receive COVID Vaccine; 'It Will Help My Life In Many Ways'

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- New Yorkers age 16 and up can now sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine.

At Cohen's Children Medical Center in New Hyde Park, some teens are getting the shot.

As CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported, anyone born on or after April 6, 2005, is now eligible specifically for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

On Tuesday, Duddridge met three teens who were really excited to be among the first to get their shots in the state.


Paul Navarro, a 17-year-old from Hempstead, and his parents are relieved he finally got the COVID-19 vaccine. He has spina bifida and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in the brain, which would put him at risk of serious illness if he were to contract the virus.

"I was very worried. I didn't want to go out, didn't want to go in public, didn't want to go to school," Navarro said. "It will help my life in many ways, keep me safe emotionally, physically. Keep me healthy, keep going."

"It was a big fear and it changed everything drastically," mother Karen Navarro added.

READ MOREPresident Biden To Move Up Deadline For Adult Eligibility For COVID Vaccine To April 19

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds. The other shots haven't been approved yet for use by people under 18. Health officials say it's paramount teens get vaccinated to help reach herd immunity.


"It can affect kids. It can affect teenagers in a way that's really serious. As importantly, in terms of stopping the spread of this virus, we've got to get all the children and all the adolescents and young adults immunized," said Dr. Charles Schleien, executive director of Cohen Children's Medical Center.

READ MOREWith Pfizer Saying Its Vaccine Is Effective In Children, Parents And Officials Consider What It Means For Schools

Briana Justice, a 16-year-old from Brooklyn went all the way to Cohen Children's to get her shot.

It marked the first time in a year she can relax. She has a compromised immune system due to sickle cell anemia.

"I'm excited. I was very nervous to get the vaccine, but now that it's done and over with I feel like I have a form of protection now," Justice said.

"She could enjoy outdoors, go on vacation, and go back to things being normal," her father added.

READ MORECOVID Vaccine: Moderna Begins Testing Shot For Children And Infants

Caitlin Bock, 16, has been learning remotely since the pandemic began, so she said she can't wait to start up activities again.

"I am in a whole bunch of different singing groups. I'm in theater in my school. I babysit and I tutor, so I've been tutoring all online. So if things go back to normal and the parents are OK with it, I might be able to tutor in-person. That would be so much easier," she said.

Parents do have to sign a form to allow their 16- and 17-year-olds to get the shot.

So far, none of the vaccines have yet been approved for people under 16.

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