Tara Moore wasn’t comfortable allowing her 12-year-old son, Christopher Martin, to play any sports since the coronavirus pandemic affected Prince George’s County in March 2020.
But after Christopher received the first shot of a Pfizer vaccine Friday, May 14, Moore says she’ll register her son to play football in July.
“We all got our vaccines, so we’re excited he got his too,” said Moore of Fort Washington.
Christopher said he felt the shot “a little bit” but can’t wait to also play basketball, baseball and track and field.
He represents the first group of teenagers ages 12 to 15 to receive a vaccine Friday at a vaccine-a-thon at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center in Landover that had all the trappings of a summer festival.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks brought her 15-year-old daughter, Alex, to receive a vaccine Friday.
The county administered more vaccines Saturday, May 15 at mobile units, two churches and Langley Park Community Center which drew more than 1,200 people. Health officials continue to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated and increase immunity for Americans from COVID-19.
As of Sunday, May 16, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show about 37% of Americans have been fully vaccinated while 48% have received at least one dose.
In Prince George’s County, nearly 382,000 residents have received at least a first dose.
With teenagers 12 and older permitted for vaccination, officials expect the figures to increase but just how much remains difficult to determine.
A May 6 poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation at https://bit.ly/3uWkgpx shows about 25% of Black parents will get their children 18 and under in their households “vaccinated right away.” In comparison, white parents and Latino parents surveyed accounted for 30% and 31%, respectively.
Dozens of Black Prince George’s County parents have resolved to get their children vaccinated including Sharon Jennings of Glenn Dale who allowed her 17-year-old daughter, Jasmine, to get the shot.
“You always want to look after and protect your children and want them to be safe right along with you,” Jennings said.
Being the first teenager in line at 6 p.m. Friday, Jasmine received two free tickets to Six Flags America and a McDonald’s gift card. She also took a picture with WPGC 95.5 FM radio personality Joe Clair and Experience Unlimited’s lead singer and bassist Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliot.
“At first I was a little nervous about how I was going to react to the vaccine but I was ready,” said Jasmine, who attends CMIT Academy North High School in Laurel. “It just makes me feel more safe going out in public with other people.”
Some businesses continue to offer incentives to convince those unvaccinated to receive a shot in the arm.
Ledo Pizza customers who register at www.ledo4vaccines.com will receive a free, eight-inch cheese pizza at restaurants throughout Maryland through June 30. There are about 11 Ledo’s restaurants in Prince George’s County.
The restaurant’s goal: give away up to 10,000 free pizzas.
“I love Ledo Pizza. This is like the greatest day of my life,” Gov. Larry Hogan said last week outside the restaurant in Oxon Hill. “Our efforts right now [are] to get those last groups of folks vaccinated. Any kind of incentive we can do to get people to get out and get their shots is going to help reach that goal to get rid of the masks and help things get back to normal.”