Back-to-school COVID-19 shots for Montana teens | Health & Fitness

Summer time is fun time: Kids are out of school, sunshine abounds, and we are all thinking about vacation. Another V-word parents and teens should be thinking about is vaccine, especially the COVID-19 vaccine.

Teens are less severely infected by the COVID-19 virus, so many parents think COVID-19 vaccines are not needed in this age group. While children and teens are less likely to become seriously ill or require hospitalization, one-third of all children under age 18 who are hospitalized for COVID19, end up in ICU.

Washing hands, wearing a mask, social distancing and the COVID-19 vaccine reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. The only way to reduce the severity of a COVID-19 infection is vaccination.

Vaccines work by helping your body get ready to fight off the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 vaccination is highly effective, but not 100% effective, in preventing a COVID-19 infection. Like flu vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines reduce how sick you get from a COVID-19 infection.

It takes two weeks for your body to build up full protection after the second vaccine dose.

Since April, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been widely available for people 16 years and older. In mid-May, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine became available to those 12 years and older. You can get it at most doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Still, only about 44% of Montanans have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.