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Utah teens welcome chance to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 22:20:49-05

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — As the statewide vaccine rollout continues, more and more Utahns become eligible to receive their first dose. One of those patiently waiting for their spot in line was 17-year-old Utah County resident Sophia Elggren.

LINKS: Here's how to register for a COVID-19 vaccination in Utah

Elggren has been tuning in to Gov. Spencer Cox's weekly news announcement, waiting for the day she could sign up for a vaccine. She didn't expect that day would come so soon.

"I figured we'd have another week until everything opened, but as he was talking, I was like, 'Oh, there's something big happening!'" Elggren said with a laugh and a smile.

She and her family got the news they were waiting for Thursday, when Cox announced that Utahns 16 and older, with certain medical conditions, could begin to get inoculated.

"I think I was actually like shaking because I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I can go get it,'" Elggren said.

She immediately jumped online and booked an appointment in Utah County, and she was given her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the same day.

"I think I was the youngest one there that had been through so far, and so they were all like, 'Wait, we don't know what to do yet,'" she added.

LIST: Special medical conditions to make Utahns eligible for vaccine

It was welcomed relief for Elggren and her family. She was diagnosed with a rare chronic kidney disease, known as Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis or FSGS, six years ago.

"Which is basically my immune system attacking my kidneys," she said.

The condition puts her at greater risk if she were to contract COVID-19.

"It was kind of surreal... If I go out, I could see someone and I could get really sick," Elggren said.

Expanded eligibility wasn't the only good news from Thursday's conference.

"Another exciting part of the announcement was that really anyone in Utah can pretty much go to any county in Utah," said Utah County Health Department spokesperson Aislyn Tolman-Hill. "The one caveat to that that's really important is that wherever you get your first dose, you must also go to that same location to get your second dose."

READ: Cox expects new one-dose vaccine in Utah next week

Right now, vaccination appointments are booked under an honor system, meaning you do not need a doctor's note to get in.

"Think of your neighbors," Tolman-Hill said. "If you don't fall under one of those medical categories, really you could be taking someone else's vaccination that perhaps needs it in front of you."

Elggren said she is grateful to have received the vaccine sooner than she had expected and is looking forward to returning to normal life.

"I'm excited to go to like some sports. I love going to like baseball games and everything," she said with a smile. "I want to see people, and we're able to have 'morp' and a prom. Just knowing that there is an end in sight is just fantastic."