MILWAUKEE — Monday signified another milestone on the vaccine front in Wisconsin now that everyone 16 years and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
As Wisconsin continues to rank among the top in the nation for vaccine distribution, the move to open up to more people comes as a surprise to some teenagers.
Sixteen-year-old Seth Trimble and his cousin 17-year-old Simeon Tokoto say their trip to the Milwaukee Public Market will be one they will remember.
"I thought the process would go much slower. I thought we'd be getting ours around like June, July, August sometime in the summertime," Trimble said.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds are still considered minors. At every vaccine clinic run by local and state health departments, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be required to sign a consent form. That goes for private pharmacies as well.
Trimble and Tokoto made the most of the first day they were able to get vaccinated.
"Either way I was planning on getting the vaccine. Being able to get it this early, I'm thankful for," Tokoto said. "People should really take the step forward and get the vaccine. You know, in order to go back to their old lives," Trimble added.
They're not the only teenagers rolling up their sleeves.
Hayat Pharmacy pharmacist Dimmy Sokhal said foot traffic has been steady since they opened their pop-up clinic at the Milwaukee Public Market Monday afternoon.
"It's very refreshing to see people who are a younger part of the workforce coming out. For us, as pharmacists, that definitely makes me feel very refreshed and encouraged," Sokhal said.
The reason the pop-up clinic is seeing a younger crowd is due to the type of vaccine they are offering.
"So, the 16 and 17-year-old population can only get Pfizer, that's the only one that included that age group in their trials," UW Health Senior Medical Director Dr. Matt Anderson said.
Dr. Anderson said getting this part of the population vaccinated is good news as we move past the pandemic.
"Getting those people vaccinated in a really timely fashion helps us move forward with our return to normal," said Anderson.
For cousins Trimble and Tokoto, as they received their first shot, the need to return to normal life is so much closer.
"Hopefully, just getting back to normal, maybe getting to vacation a little and just playing basketball, playing sports," Trimble said.
The Hayat Pharmacy pop-up clinic is set to return to the public market April 26 for second doses and a few first doses as well as the first week of May.