FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- COVID-19 vaccines are available as soon as Thursday morning for children ages 12-15.
Indiana ranks 38th and 40th - the lower half - for hospitalizations nationally.
We have higher positivity rates and higher cases per capita.
The Allen County Department of Health hopes that folks - now including those 12 years and older - receive the vaccine.
Matt Seitz and his family tested positive for COVID-19 in December 2020.
“It’s no joke. We were out, we missed all of our families over the holidays. That was tough,” Seitz said.
The father of two is relieved his 14 and 15-year-old daughters are now eligible for the vaccine.
“We do plan on having them vaccinated for the safety of our family and our extended family,” he said.
He doesn’t wish his experiences last Christmas on anyone — he urges everyone to vaccinate their children.
Indiana Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box agrees.
“Vaccines work. The represent return to the normalcy that we all crave,” Dr. Box said.
40 percent of the population 16 and older are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter says we need to reach 80 percent for herd immunity.
“What we’d really like is for everybody to be vaccinated and then we could just get rid of the masks and do it safely,” Sutter said.
Jenni Long of Fort Wayne is on the fence.
“The first thing I’m going to do is reach out to my pediatrician and get their thoughts and recommendations on what they think I need to do with them,” Long said.
Long’s children are 12 and 14 years old. She says ultimately she just wants her kids to be safe and healthy.
“I really wanna make sure we keep the kids in school and that we can continue our kids with sports and so I’m going to accommodate whatever is needed,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s safe for folks who are fully vaccinated to congregate indoors without masks, as long as they haven’t been experiencing any symptoms.
Health officials stand firmly on the fact that vaccinations are the key to returning to normalcy.