INDIANAPOLIS — It was a great turnout Wednesday evening at North Central High School's mass vaccination clinic for teens ages 12 to 17.
The Marion County Health Department is partnering with schools to host three clinics, one being at North Central, that's meant to help youth get vaccinated against COVID-19.
For North Central student, Savannah McDonald, she said getting the vaccine was a no-brainer. It took all of five seconds with a little pain afterward, but believes it was all worth it in terms of saving lives.
"I'm excited. I'm tired of wearing masks. I think that I'm ready for school to be back to normal," McDonald said.
The rising junior and lacrosse player explained that with her tight schedule, she just couldn't find the right time to go and get the vaccine. But, when her mother received an email about the mass vaccination clinic at her school, she said she just couldn't pass up the opportunity.
"She's [her mother] like, "We're going today!" And, I was like, "Thank you!" Because all of my friends are vaccinated and I was one of the last ones," McDonald explained.
Her mom, Wendy McDonald said she went back and forth debating whether or not to get her children vaccinated, but in the end knew that it was the right decision to make.
"I have friends and family who had young ones get it, everyone seems to be okay," Wendy said. "I teach school, so I feel like to keep my kids safe, to keep other kids safe, I decided to go ahead and let them get it."
"I think it's incredible," Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Health Department said. "We have a vulnerable population that for the first time now has the ability to protect themselves."
Dr. Caine added that right now, the vaccination rate for many teens is extremely low, less than about 25%. She said she believes it's because of this age group being fairly new for eligibility.
"Young kids like to dance. They like to sing in their choirs or play in their bands," Caine said. "So, this is the quickest way for them to get back to normal activity."
Activities Savannah McDonald said she can't wait to get back to. She said that facing her fear of needles and a few minutes out of her day is something she challenges her peers to do.
"Protection for everyone, for yourself, for your family members, for your friends," she said. "It wasn't that long so I think you should get it. It was only five seconds, and the five seconds will change lives and that's important."
Those who received their first dose on Wednesday will return on June 23 to get their second dose.
The mass vaccination clinic will be made available again at Arsenal Tech High School on June 12 and at Warren Central High School on June 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.