12-year-old Midlands boy celebrates birthday by getting a COVID-19 shot

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 10:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - One Midlands young man celebrated his 12th birthday with a gift from Pfizer.

Aidan Flanagan just turned twelve in early September. Like most 12-year-old boys, he’s concerned about seeing his friends at school, doing well in his favorite subjects of social studies and science and he likes playing soccer. But, where he differs? He is wise beyond his years. For his birthday, he got a COVID-19 shot.

“I want to keep myself and others safe when at school,” Aidan said. “The virus can make everybody sick.”

It’s also about trying to find a new normal for Aidan and his family. Aidan has a condition called Addison’s Disease, which is a rare adrenal disorder that puts Aidan at higher risk for serious complications if he were to get COVID-19.

“[There’s] potential for having to be hospitalized and getting IV’s and medications,” said Michelle Flanagan, Aidan’s Mom. “And not knowing because this virus is attacking people in so many different ways we’ve been so worried.”

As of Thursday September 23rd, 199,923 South Carolinians ages 12-19 have gotten one dose of a vaccine and 27.7% of that age group is fully vaccinated. Aidan’s pediatrician, Dr. Deborah Greenhouse, told WIS vaccine hesitancy and misinformation in parents and teens is still a major hurdle.

“Some cases what we see is that parents may only be looking at the risks because that’s what they see splattered all over social media,” said Dr. Greenhouse. “And they may not be stopping to think…hey what if I or my child catches the disease, what is the risk there?”

Kids like Aidan, she said, are doing the research and finding the facts for themselves: that the data shows the vaccine is safe and effective.”They’re not seeing a political issue here. They’re seeing a pretty simple black and white issue. Which is quite frankly what it is,” said Dr. Greenhouse.Aidan has a message for others who might be nervous to get the shot. “Sometimes you have to do things that you’re scared about doing and push through it,” he said.

For more information about where to get a COVID-19 vaccine, go to: https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov/

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