Louisiana 16-year-old encourages other teens to get vaccinated after receiving first Pfizer shot

16-year-old Amaya Rockwood receives her first Covid-19 vaccine.
16-year-old Amaya Rockwood receives her first Covid-19 vaccine.(Nikki Rockwood / WVUE)
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 9:13 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Early on, mother Nikki Rockwood wanted to make sure her two teens understood the gravity of a worldwide pandemic.

“I’m a nurse, so once Covid hit the news, we started talking about what it meant and how to protect ourselves and of course in the beginning it was very scary, I was changing my clothes in the garage before I would come inside,” said Rockwood.

Also a contributor to the New Orleans Mom Blog, like many other families, she says they struggled to strike a balance between safety and sanity.

“She’s at an age where she can kind of understand what’s going on so she’s done a great job educating herself and seeing what’s going on in the world around her not so much her teenage bubble,” said Rockwood. Now with vaccines coming online, she says that conversation and education is paying off for her oldest, 16-year-old Amaya.

“I wear my mask everywhere, I haven’t gotten covid, I’m halfway vaccinated,” said Amaya.

With mom’s help, she’s just one Louisiana teen who voluntarily signed up for the Pfizer vaccine, the only one approved by the FDA for teens 16 years and older.

“Once I’m fully vaccinated, I’m not going to have to feel like guilt or scared I’ll have less chance of getting it,” said Amaya.

Beyond simply getting more shots in arms, health educator Dr. Eric Griggs hopes expanding the vaccine to teens will also encourage more adults to get vaccinated.

“Anytime you talk about someone’s kids all the adults listen like we’re away what are you talking to them tell it to me so I can understand which is a great thing… the more we make ourselves vulnerable to the virus getting into our species it doesn’t matter what age it is it will go as young as we allow it to,” said Griggs.

“I think a lot of people should take consideration of getting it, we have to trust people have been studying this for forever,” said Amaya.

Amaya’s still talked with her friends on the phone, and hung out with them in small groups throughout the pandemic.

Reporter: Do you feel like you’re missing out on anything?

Amaya: “Yeah, I did in the beginning, but now I feel like it’s not as bad everyone’s getting vaccinated.”

Unlike the normal teenage experience, she’s again prioritizing others’ health before her own, this time by choosing the shot.

“I do love socializing and everything, but at the same time I’m the kind of person who says this is a human decency thing there are people who’ve lost their loved ones and their parents and grandparents over this pandemic,” said Amaya.

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