Mother Drives 18 Hours To Get Daughter A Vaccination

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for teens 18 and older. Pfizer is the only one for 16 and up, according to the FDA, Caroline Cummings reports (2:49). WCCO 4 News At 6 - March 27, 2021

Video Transcript

- Well beginning Tuesday, anyone over the age of 16 in Minnesota is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Not everyone will get their shot right away. State officials say, right now demand still far outpaces supply. They expect an uptick in doses of Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson in the next several weeks. But as WCCO's Caroline Cummings explains, kids 16 and 17 only have one of those options.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: If you can't measure a mother's love--

MEGAN MIKKALSON: I have been watching Florida and Arizona to see if they would have availability. We were willing to drive wherever it took.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: In the case of Megan Mikkalson, you can-- all 1,100 miles and 18 hours round trip of it.

MEGAN MIKKALSON: It was like a weight just got lifted off my chest.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Rochester to Rolla, North Dakota-- where there was excess vaccine one February day that the tiny town was willing to share. A long journey Mikkalson says she'd do all over again to get a COVID vaccine for her 16-year-old daughter, Madeleine who has an autoimmune disease.

MEGAN MIKKALSON: When you're out there trying to get one for somebody you love. I spent hours, it was like a full-time job looking for Pfizer.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Pfizer and only Pfizer, because right now, that's all her 16-year-old is approved to take. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are OK for teens 18 and older. Pfizer is the only one for 16 and up, according to the FDA. So as eligibility flies wide open on Tuesday while supply still falls short of demand, parents looking for vaccines for their teens will have to look closely.

DR. ABE JACOB: We're going to have to be very careful about making sure that the right people who are indicated to get the vaccine are getting the right vaccine. It's a vaccine safety issue.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: WCCO asked the Minnesota Department of Health if there are any plans in the future to hold a certain amount of vaccines for 16 and 17-year-olds in the quest to get as many people vaccinated as possible. The Department-- in an email-- didn't directly respond, but noted there are clinical trials underway testing children as young as 12 with Pfizer and Moderna. But approval could still be many months away.

MEGAN MIKKALSON: I don't think people realize how many 16-year-olds are compromised. If you have an option, grab a Moderna if you can, or grab a Johnson & Johnson. Leave that Pfizer one open for 16 and 17-year-olds, because there's a mom out there that's struggling to get their kid back out in society again.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Caroline Cummings, WCCO 4 News.

- And Mikkalson found a vaccine with a little help from online appointment hunters. We have a link to their pages on our website at wcco.com/links. When it comes to current COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, we have a daily positivity rate of 5.6%. That's higher than what health officials want to see. MDH is also reporting four new deaths and more than 1700 new cases. 95% of Minnesotans who've had COVID-19 have recovered.