Health experts urging that kids 12 and older get COVID vaccine before returning to school

Coronavirus

A rendering of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Getty Images)

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – Tampa Bay health experts are urging that kids 12 and older get the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to school.

“The sooner they get the vaccine, the better it is to slow the transmission,” said Naazneen Pal, an Epidemiologist with the Department of Health Hillsborough County.

It takes about five weeks to be considered fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Hillsborough County Schools first day of class is set for Aug. 10.

“You have to wait a window of 3 weeks before you get the second dose and then two weeks after that to be completely vaccinated,” added Pal.

For students who get the vaccine this week, that would put them past the start of school in Hillsborough County before they are considered fully vaccinated. But health officials just want this group to be vaccinated.

“It’s imperative the sooner they get their vaccine the better it is,” said Pal.

Right now 32% of kids 12-19 years old in Hillsborough County have at least one dose of the vaccine, but doctors are wanting that number to be higher.

The Back 2 School Coalition of Hillsborough County is offering free health clinics in the month of July, where the Pfizer vaccine will be offered, along with other school-related health screenings.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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