Jane Ellen Norman, 12, holds vaccination cards for her and her 14-year-old brother Owen outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The two were vaccinated Tuesday morning, after U.S. regulators expanded use of Pfizer's COVID-19 shot to those as young as 12. (AP Photo/Angie Wang)
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ATLANTA (AP) — Twelve-year-old Jane Ellen Norman is looking forward to a little more freedom in her life and a possible return to summer camp after getting her first dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine in Atlanta on Tuesday — one day after U.S. regulators expanded its use to children her age through 15.

Being able to see her friends without staying far apart and worrying they might get sick was top of mind for the sixth grader following the shot at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.

“I hope they all get vaccinated,” Jane Ellen said.

The Food and Drug Administration declared Monday that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15.

The agency noted there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 16 among kids given dummy shots. More intriguing, researchers found the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies measured in young adults. Teens aged 16 and older were previously eligible for a vaccine.

Jane Ellen's mom, English Norman, said she scheduled an appointment for her daughter and 14-year-old son, Owen Norman, immediately after hearing about the FDA authorization. Owen also got a shot Tuesday.

Norman said her kids have been good about wearing their masks, washing their hands and staying socially distant, but they have still been very anxious about leaving the house.

"I think it’s exciting that now their anxiety can start to lessen and they can feel safe,” she said.

The FDA authorization should allow kids to get vaccinated before returning to school in the fall. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement Monday it brings the country “closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”

For Jane Ellen, that means a chance to go back to her summer camp, which was canceled last year as the pandemic raged.

“I’m excited to go there and see all my camp friends," she said.


Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.