Where can 16- and 17-year-olds get vaccinated?

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MANHATTAN, Kan (KSNT) – There isn’t a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Riley County, in-fact they have plenty to go around according to Riley County Health Director Julie Gibbs.

“You know we have offered up to twelve hundred slots for individuals to fill and sometimes we only get about half of those filled so right now we have enough doses we just need arms to put them in,” Gibbs said.

Vaccine hesitancy is one factor to the issue, but another cause is the fact that 16 and 17 year olds can’t get vaccinated by RCHD, that is because the county only is able to give people the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, both of which are not permitted for use in anyone under the age of 18.

But there is a vaccine that can be used for 16- and 17-year-olds, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. So why isn’t RCHD offering that vaccine? Simply put, county health departments don’t choose what vaccines they get according to Gibbs, KDHE chooses what brand counties get and how much of it they receive.

In the case of RCHD, the department only offers Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, but there are still places your teen can get the Pfizer vaccine.

“I always encourage people to go to the KDHE website you can go to the vaccine disturber map there and you can find who has the vaccine and what vaccines are actually available,” Gibbs said.

The map Gibbs refers to is “Vaccine Finder” a website that shows you where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine, you can search specific brands and locations.

Screenshot of “Vaccine Finder” showing the only location with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Taken on April 12, 2021.

According to the website as of Tuesday there is only one place to get the Pfizer vaccine in Manhattan, Walgreens on Anderson Ave.

But even with hesitancy on the minds of some for others the brief side affects are better than risking getting or spreading the virus.

“Getting the COVID vaccine I think is like, yeah in the short run maybe for 24 hours – 48, there is a little bit of symptoms, but it is far better than having COVID,” said K-State student Hannah Heatherman.

KSNT News has also compiled a county by county list on where you can find your COVID-19 vaccine, click here to visit statewide map.

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