A round of applause rang out on Thursday as New York teenagers began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

Brothers Thomas and Brendan Lo, and Sydney Glover were among the first adolescents to be vaccinated at the Cohen Children's Medical Center on New York's Long Island.

"It feels good," said Thomas, 15. "Now I can meet with my friends and I won't have to worry so much about getting COVID. COVID is probably a ton worse than getting a vaccine."

Ava Kreutziger, 14, gives Croix Hill, 15, a high five after Croix received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Ochsner Center for Primary Care and Wellness, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the Pfizer vaccine for use in teenagers ages 12 to 15 in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

U.S. regulators authorized Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12 earlier in the week, the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the United States for ages 12 to 15. read more

Vaccinating younger ages is considered an important step for getting children back into schools safely. U.S. President Joe Biden has asked states to make the vaccine available to younger adolescents immediately.

Most children with COVID-19 only develop mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, children are not without risk of becoming seriously ill, and they can still spread the virus. There have been outbreaks traced to sporting events and other activities for children in this age range.

When asked what he will do after receiving the vaccine, Thomas said, "First, I'm going to wait for the second dose and then after that two weeks I'll be able to be fully protected against COVID. And then I'll go hang out with some friends."

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