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Teens in Mercer County get COVID-19 vaccine

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BLUEFIELD, W. Va. (WVVA) - Teens in Mercer County are rolling up their sleeve to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The health department is now offering the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds at its weekly clinics.

We spoke with teens about why they're choosing to be vaccinated, and the overwhelming response was: returning to some sense of normalcy.

"I've been stuck inside for like a year," Malia Osborn, a 13-year-old vaccine recipient, said. "I've been doing home school, and it's hard. It's harder than regular school because I don't have teachers."

Osborn said she hates getting shots, but the payoff here is worth it.

"I want to see my friends, and I want to go to the grocery store without having to wear a mask," she said.

Not wearing a mask was another popular reason teens are choosing the COVID-19 vaccine, but local public health leaders said they're not sure the new CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals will incentivize the un-vaccinated population in our area.

"I think we're down to the point that most of the people have gotten the vaccine that are going to get it," Roger Topping, the Mercer County Health Department Administrator, said.

And while the overall numbers at the health department's clinics continue to decline, Topping said he has seen a recent rise in the number of young people seeking the vaccine.

"Most of them are 12 to 25," he said. "So we've seen a good increase in that number, and I'd just be tickled to death to see more."

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Hannah Howard

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