PARIS, Ky. (LEX 18) — Starting Thursday, kids 12 and older can get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky.
Public health leaders believe this is good news for the 2021-2022 school year. They say not only can the vaccine help make sure students get a normal classroom experience, but it can also help keep school sports on schedule.
This week, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack told Kentucky's superintendents about the benefits for fully vaccinated athletes.
"If [athletes] go and get their first dose over the next two or three weeks, they can get their second dose in time so that they're all fully vaccinated and ready to go practice in the mid-summer and they won't have to quarantine if they're exposed to someone who is infected," said Dr. Stack.
And that reason is why Jamie Cowan, a 16-year-old on the Paris High School Girls Basketball team, decided getting a vaccine would be a good idea.
"I'm going to be honest, at first I wasn't too sure about the vaccine. But once I started thinking about our team and our season, it made me realize that the vaccine would be important to get - that we wouldn't have to sit out so much," said Cowan. "And we would have fewer games canceled, and [less] risk of getting COVID and getting sick."
Cowan and her teammate, Sanaa Jackson, say they had to miss games and practices last season due to quarantine. This is something many teams across Kentucky experienced.
"We were out. We missed games," said Jackson. "It was awful."
"At one point, we had to wear gloves to rebound for each other," said Cowan.
They're hoping to avoid that next year. So when Jackson, who is 15-years-old, found out she can now get the Pfizer vaccine, she didn't waste any time signing up for the shot.
"It just opened up to me, so I just got my appointment set," said Jackson. "We found out [Wednesday] and I was like 'oh my god yes.' I texted my mom and I was like mom set the appointment right now."
Her hope is that the vaccine allows her to spend some time with her teammates.
"I get to be closer to my teammates this year," said Jackson. "We were separated the entire year."