San Luis Obispo County residents ages 12 years and older can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a May 12 County press release.
This expanded availability follows the recent CDC recommendation to offer the Pfizer vaccine to those 12 to 15 years old after the FDA expanded its emergency authorization. A clinical trial with 12- to 15-year-olds showed that the vaccine is effective and safe in preventing COVID-19 for this age group.
“This safe, effective vaccine offers powerful protection from COVID-19 and, especially for young people, can help lift the weight of worrying about spreading the illness to others,” County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said in the press release. “This important step comes at the perfect time for our youth to safely enjoy their summer and take part in so many of the activities they love.”
At this time, San Luis Coastal Unified School District (SLCUSD) has no policy requiring students to get vaccinated, according to Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services Ryan Pinkerton. He said that a requirement is contingent on guidance from the California Department of Public Health.
Pinkerton said that SLCUSD’s focus right now is opening schools fully in the fall.
“The more kids to get vaccines, the less need there is for masks and [COVID-19] protocols and testing and all the other things that go along with that,” Pinkerton said. “So for us we see it as a positive.”
Pinkerton said that SLCUSD is currently working with San Luis Obispo Public Health to establish vaccine clinics at school campuses to offer vaccines to students and employees.
Wesley Bisheff, 13, received his first dose of the vaccine at Cal Poly on May 13 and said that he was excited but also nervous to get vaccinated.
“It was kind of a given in my family that as soon as it was available to us I’d get it, and I had nothing against that,” Wesley Bisheff said.
Wesley Bisheff’s mom, Cal Poly journalism professor Kim Bisheff, said that she was excited that her son was finally able to get vaccinated.
“I have an only child who is super social and it has been a very long year of no sleepovers, no indoor playdates and we are just all super excited to get back to some semblance of normal,” Kim Bisheff said.
Similar to Wesley Bisheff, 13-year-old Payton Shoresman-Roberts recently received his first dose of the vaccine at the Rite Aid on Johnson Avenue.
Shoresman-Roberts said that he was nervous to get the vaccine because he isn’t a fan of needles. But after talking to his parents, he decided that the vaccine was worth facing his fear.
“I didn’t want to get it at first, but then my dad told me all of the good things that would happen and so I was like, yeah I’ll risk the needle,” Shoresman-Roberts said.
Shoresman-Roberts said that after his vaccination his arm was sore and he was tired, but he had no side effects other than that. Similarly, Wesley Bisheff said that in terms of side effects he had a sore arm, slight fever and was tired for a day, but after that he felt fine.
In addition, both Wesley Bisheff and Shoresman-Roberts said that they are looking forward to their second shots and that many of their friends are also planning on getting vaccinated.
Vaccines are currently being administered at county clinics and local pharmacies. People under 18 must have a parent or guardian present to receive the vaccine.
San Luis Obispo County has vaccinated 86,023 people, with 74,816 of those people being fully vaccinated, according to the county’s dashboard.