ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some of New Jersey’s youngest eligible residents were vaccinated Thursday in Union County.
The teenagers are EMS volunteers.
Natalia Kruk is a 17-year-old cadet for Cranford’s First Aid Squad.
“I’m getting my first round of the Pfizer vaccine, not only protecting me but it is also protecting my grandparents and my family,” she told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
The high school senior is one of several 16- and 17-year-old EMS volunteers to be vaccinated at Trinitas Medical Center in Elizabeth.
“I’m pretty excited, especially since I’m one of first teens to get it. I just would like to be protected, especially if I am working on the front lines,” Maya Tobolewski.
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Tobolewski is also on Cranford’s squad, riding along on 911 calls and training with EMTs.
“I went on a couple of calls that really stayed with me,” she said.
For many of the teens, the cadet program is a segue into the medical field.
“They will often become EMTs and then move on sometimes to paramedic, to nursing, even to medical school, other allied health professions. It’s definitely a very important gateway,” said Philip Solomon, safety officer and emergency preparedness coordinator at Trinitas Medical Center.
“Pediatrician, maybe, is the goal right now,” Kruk said of her future plans.
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Kruk said working during a pandemic has proven to her she is where she wants to be — on the front lines helping others.
Both teens hope to be an example for others to get vaccinated.
The Moderna vaccine is only approved for 18 and older. Teens 16 and up can receive the Pfizer vaccine.
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report