Tennessee teens age 16 and older are now getting COVID-19 shots

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Teens in Memphis and across the state of Tennessee are now getting COVID-19 shots.

The state followed Shelby County’s lead, opening vaccinations to people 16 and up on Monday.

For some parents, it’s the news they’ve been waiting for.

Annie Billions said she is getting her 16-year-old vaccinated as soon as possible. She’s doing this because her 10-year-old caught the virus and was extremely sick.

“When the days went by, I kinda got more sick by it,” said 10-year-old Eliza Billions. “I didn’t think it would be this bad.”

RELATED: Tennessee COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens to anyone 16 and up

For three weeks, Eliza suffered from severe symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and horrible headaches.

“I was really surprised I got it, and I don’t really know how I got it,” Eliza Billions said.

One month later, her mother, Annie, also got sick with COVID-19.

“I was down for the count for two weeks, and I had the breathing things where the oxygen level was really low,” said Annie Billions. “When people say kids can’t get it or don’t get it, it really hits me hard because she did.”

Billions said she is taking her 16-year-old to get vaccinated to protect the rest of her family. Her two other kids aren’t old enough.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Pfizer says vaccine 100% effective for children ages 12-15, preliminary data show

“He has been in quarantine 8,000 times because of the people in school, but he has always had to test before going back to school and always tested negative,” said Annie Billions.

Annie hopes the vaccine will protect her family from the virus. She said she wants them to stay happy and healthy and encourages others to do the same.

“I’d rather honestly get that than risk getting it again because it was so wicked,” said Annie Billions.

Annie’s other two kids plan on getting the vaccine once they are old enough.

“I just really wonder when COVID is going to go because so many people are getting it now, but you never know,” said Eliza Billions.

Pfizer says its vaccine safely protects kids between the ages of 12 and 15. It’s just waiting for approval from the FDA.