La Crosse 12-year-olds receive their COVID shots

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – Thursday was the first day 12 to 15-year-olds in our community could get their COVID vaccine.

Three La Crosse 12-year-olds are stepping out of their way to protect themselves and their community.

“All of us, we are on the swim team,” Finley Thompson said. “And it’s hard having to wear masks in like the pool area or at school. I would just like to not wear a mask.”

Teammates Finley Thompson, Lucy Boland and Arjun Oshan all received their shots during a busy day at Gundersen’s vaccination clinic in Onalaska.

“I wanted to show other kids my age that it’s fine, and you can do it,” Arjun Oshan said.

One day after the CDC said it was OK to do so.

“I was a little nervous, but now I’m good,” Lucy Boland said.

“I’m super proud of her,” Lucy’s mom, Jessica, said. “She did a good job. And I’m glad that she tried to set an example for others who might be feeling hesitant to get the vaccine.”

And there are many other parents who are hesitant about getting their 12 to 15 year old a COVID shot.

In a recent national survey, about a third of parents say they will wait to see how the vaccine is working, while roughly 1 in 5 parents say they will definitely not let their child roll up their sleeve.

Yet health officials continue to encourage folks get their shots.

“Vaccinations equal freedom as far as we’re concerned,” La Crosse County interim health director Jane Klekamp said.

And when Jessica learned her daughter would be eligible, there was no hesitation.

“She smiled and was so excited, and I asked her why,” Jessica said. “And she said because I’m excited to get back to doing normal things that I love to do.”

A choice these three made looking beyond themselves, for the greater good of the team.

“I think me getting the vaccine is a good part of helping,” Finley said.

Mayo Clinic Health System leaders say its clinic also has more demand since Pfizer’s vaccine got approval for 12 to 15-year-olds.