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DES PLAINES, Ill. – Cook County health officials repeated the message Thursday that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for kids 12 and up and necessary to expand immunity in the community.

At the Des Plaines mass vaccination site, Cook County health employees with their children explained why they chose to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“My shot at having a normal freshman year,” one child said. “Have parties for the summer,” said another.

For 8th grader Gianna Amidei, her reasoning was more sentimental.

“Since the pandemic, I haven’t really been able to see my brother,” said Amidei, who says her little brother is battling leukemia.

Gianna Amidei

“It’s been hard,” she said. “Very hard.” 

Now, she says she can’t wait to get fully vaccinated, so she can give her brother “the biggest hug ever.”

Gianna Amidei’s mom, Marisol Nunez, a clinic manager for North Riverside Health Center, says it’s time for parents on the fence to “trust in science and protect our kids with everything at our disposal.”

In an effort to try to convince the hesitant, state officials hope incentives will help.

Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday that Six Flags would give out 50,000 free tickets to encourage people to roll up their sleeves. 

“We’re looking at a lot of ways to incentivize and use our resources as best as we can,” Pritzker added.

“I’m 100% confident this will motivate people,” said Hank Salemi, Six Flags Great America president. “That’s why we’re doing it.”

At the Des Plaines mass vaccination site, the vaccination line moved quickly. County doctors urged parents to get their children vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

“Yes I am a doctor, but more importantly I am a mother,” said Dr. Whitney Lyn, a family medicine physician. “That’s why I’m encouraging my patients to get vaccinated.”

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