Twin Cities students get COVID-19 vaccinations as they prepare for return to classes

17-year-old Nathan Symanivong says he's excited to get back to in-person classes for his senior year. (FOX 9)

As the summer days grow short for students on break, health experts across the state are making a strong push to get more kids as young as age 12 vaccinated before the start of the school year.

The window of opportunity is closing for students to get both shots and to be fully vaccinated before the start of the school year.

On Wednesday, we met up with 17-year-old Nathan Symanivong who was more than ready to sit down outside his high school and get his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"He goes, 'I’m ready to get my shot mom,'" recalled his mother Jane Daoheuang. "'I’m ready to go back to school.' It’s his senior year, we don’t want him to miss out on anything."

"I’m excited to go back to school because virtual was a lot harder," added Nathan.

With students as young as 12 eligible to get the shot, St. Paul-Ramsey Public Health says they’ve averaged about 80 vaccinations a week at three-hour appointments or walk-up school-based opportunities and lately numbers are increasing.

"For many people, being able to come to a place they know and trust and are familiar with to get a vaccine is really important to them," said Kris Ehresman with the Minnesota Department of Health.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic echoed the same suggestion to get a dose now, followed by the second, and be fully vaccinated within about a month. They point out even those who may have already had COVID-19 are not protected against the delta variant.

While some students were able to get their shot on Wednesday, the vaccine isn’t expected to be available to kids as young as five until sometime in the middle of the school year.

"The surge we are seeing now is not being caused by these break-through infections," said Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse with Mayo Clinic. "The surge is being caused by unvaccinated people who are ending up in the hospital or dying from it."