Andre Thomas absolutely wanted his 13-year-old daughter Avaea to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Thomas and his wife came down with the virus last year.

Both recovered, but Thomas remembers the “terrible fever,” 105 degrees.

So Thomas brought Avaea to the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Evanston Township High School today. With children age 12 and older now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, School Districts 202 and 65 held a vaccination event at ETHS, for any public or private school student in Evanston.

“It was very important” to go there, Thomas said. “We’re just trying to do our part.”

None of the Thomas family’s three children contracted COVID, despite their parents becoming ill. But Thomas is not taking any chances. He says he has friends who lost family members to the disease.

“I caught it and I’m fine,” he says. “But the next person might not be.”

Evanston exceeds both Illinois and the nation in percentages of vaccinated residents. As of May 17, 79% of residents 12 and older have received one dose, 63% are fully vaccinated with either the single dose J&J shot or the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Students vaccinated as Saturday’s ETHS event will return June 12 for their second Pfizer dose.

That includes Avaea, who is finishing up 8th grade at Chute Middle School and will be a freshman in the fall at ETHS.

Avaea says the shot only hurt for a second. She’s glad she is now halfway home to being completely vaccinated. “I want to be able to go back to normal,” she says.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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