Vaccination centers across the Garden State that use the Pfizer vaccine have opened their doors to kids between the ages of 12 and 15 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved allowing adolescents to get vaccinated late Wednesday.

At the Burlington County megasite, hundreds of adolescents showed up for the vaccine, including 14-year-old Donald Cucuzzella, accompanied by his mother and father.

The Burlington Township Middle School 8th grader said he felt relieved and happy to be getting vaccinated.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back to normal,” he said. “Going into pizza places and meeting with my friends, watching sports — I’m really looking forward to fun stuff like that.”

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“We used to go inside our local pizza place and watch football in the fall,” he said. “We weren’t able to do that this year."

Donald said he really wanted to get a vaccine because "I just was so nervous about getting coronavirus, like I still wore my mask inside, outside. Even when I was out with my friends I never really took it off.”

Another youngster who showed up to get vaccinated was 12-year-old Jenna Baron, who came with her dad Rob.

12 year old Jenna Baron gets her COVID vaccine. David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ
12 year old Jenna Baron gets her COVID vaccine. David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ

The Voorhees Middle School student said she wanted to get a vaccine so she can get back to a normal routine.

‘I haven’t been able to hang out with my friends as much, have sleep-overs,” she said. “I dance, so that’s been restricted, too. It’s hard dancing with a mask and I also do theatre. It’s hard singing with a mask.”

She said a lot of her friends, but not all of them, are also getting vaccinated.

“One of my friends this morning told me I was going to turn purple after getting the vaccine,” she said.

Donald’s mother Holly Cucuzzella, who’s the Burlington County health officer, said she wasn’t surprised at all her son wanted to get vaccinated immediately.

“We’ve been watching the news, waiting and waiting, and Donald repeatedly asks where are they in the process, where are they in the study, how soon is it going to be,” she said. “And so we were very relieved when we heard it was going to come out.”

The family is planning a trip to Great Adventure in the not-too-distant future.

Donald’s advice to other kids is simple: “Just get the vaccine 'cause you’re going to help keep your friends and safe in the long run.’

Jenna said getting vaccinated makes total sense.

“I really encourage everyone to get the vaccine and help the world eliminate COVID," she said.

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