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'These vaccines are safe': Gov. Beshear urges 12 to 15-year-olds to get COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 3:59 PM, May 18, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — On June 11th, Kentucky will lift its final COVID-19 restrictions. The reason it's not happening now is because the Beshear Administration wanted to give 12 to 15-year-olds a chance to get protected.

That age group was first allowed to get Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday.

“For about two months, our 16- and 17-year-olds have been eligible for the Pfizer shot. Last Thursday, that age eligibility dropped to include everyone 12 and older,” said Beshear. “We need every eligible student, and the parents and guardians of every eligible student, to understand these vaccines are safe and will protect our young people from what can be a devastating illness with lifelong consequences."

On Tuesday, Beshear visited Lafayette High School’s pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic. He encouraged youth vaccinations and thanked students for getting the shot.

"We need our 12 to 18-year-olds, and for that matter our 18 to 30-year-olds, to step up and to continue to be the heroes that you have been during this pandemic," said Beshear.

As of Monday, 1,927,168 Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the state. That number includes more than 24,000 Kentuckians age 12 to 17.

On Tuesday, teens like 15-year-old Lauren Clay Sampson joined those 24,000 others.

"Even doing simple things like traveling or walking around without a mask on, I'm just so excited to go back to normal," she said after getting vaccinated.

Her mom, Shannon, said two of the three kids are vaccinated now. The youngest is still not eligible, but if she were, Sampson said she would've gotten her vaccinated too.

“Like many other parents, we had heard concerns about the possible long-term effects on growing children, but we spoke at length with doctors we trust and feel comfortable with this decision,” Sampson said. “We’re doing it because we feel like it’s important. It’s a civic duty. We are certainly excited about the safety it provides for our children and our family, but we also believe this is part of safeguarding our entire community.”

Beshear said he trusts the vaccine so much that he's going to get his kids vaccinated as soon as they're eligible.

"I have an 11-year-old son. He'll turn 12 in June. The day after his birthday, we're scheduled to get him vaccinated," said Beshear. "[The vaccines] are safe and I believe they're so safe, I'm going to get my own children vaccinated."