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‘It’s a way to get out of this’: Vaccination of teens ages 12-15 begins in Mass.

Noah Wilds, 12, of Lexington with his mother Mandy patting his head and holding his hand as he prepared to get his shot at the LGH location at the Crossroads River Center in Lowell on Thursday.
Noah Wilds, 12, of Lexington with his mother Mandy patting his head and holding his hand as he prepared to get his shot at the LGH location at the Crossroads River Center in Lowell on Thursday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Eager to take another step toward normalcy, parents brought their adolescent children to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on Thursday to have them vaccinated against the coronavirus, a day after federal officials authorized the shots for ages 12 to 15.

Andres Perez brought his daughter, Julia, 13. She was the last member of the family to receive the vaccine and he hoped that “with caution” something of a normal life could return after the pandemic.

“The vaccines are proven to be effective,” he said. “It’s a way to get out of this.”

Julia said she would feel safer after receiving the vaccine. It was “part of it all starting to end,” she said.

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Karolyn Maws brought her son, Charlie. As a public school teacher, she said, she has seen firsthand how more than a year of isolation has weighed on children.

“It’s hard to keep them apart,” she said. “It goes against their social nature.”

For his part, Charlie hasn’t “really enjoyed this thing.” He’s missed being able to see his grandparents and high-five his friends.

“I want to go back to normal,” he said.

Jayne Casella said she brought her daughter, Claire, because they “want to have a life again.”

Casella, who is diabetic, had been vaccinated earlier this year and said she was happy when the vaccine was authorized for children 12 to 15. Claire said she felt it was important for her to get vaccinated before returning to school.

Children 12 to 15 years begin to receive vaccine
Children 12 to 15 years began to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center in Chelsea on Thursday. (Shelby Lum/Globe Staff)

On Wednesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12. The Pfizer vaccine was previously authorized for those as young as 16. A study of more than 2,000 12- to 15-year-olds found the dose that adults receive is safe and strongly protective.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still authorized only for people 18 and older.

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William Courtney, a spokesman for Lowell General Hospital, said the hospital’s regional vaccination site at the Cross River Center in Lowell had seen a rush of 12- to 15-year-olds and their parents on Thursday.

That age group accounted for 754 of the 913 first-shot appointments Thursday. Courtney said the site has also booked 2,628 appointments for that age group on Saturday, out of a daily capacity of 3,000.

Demand had been going down for first doses but opening up a new age group “definitely picked up appointment traffic for us,” he said.

Brendan Corcoran, 15, came to the Hynes with his father, Sean. Brendan is the last of his family to receive the vaccine and said he was looking forward to going back to school in person.

Remote learning was a challenge, he said, because “you don’t get to see people.”

“It’s just social media,” he said. “You can’t interact.” He was looking forward to going to the park and hanging out with friends.

Jody Olympia brought her two sons — 14-year-old Luke and 12-year-old Keith — to get vaccinated after receiving an alert from the state’s pre-registration system that they were eligible.

She said it was important for her to get her sons vaccinated, both “for protection” and “to be a good citizen.”

Luke said he felt like the vaccine gave him “an extra layer of shield” against the virus, and he wanted “every layer of shield we can get.” Keith said it was “kind of frustrating” to have waited for the vaccine but understood the delay, noting that “some people need it more than us.”

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Luke and Keith said they were eager to play hockey without a mask, and Jody Olympia said she was looking forward to watching her sons play in person.

“It’s kind of hard to play hockey with a mask on,” Keith said.

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report. Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.