Teen who helped Chicagoans get COVID-19 vaccine appointment receives first dose


CHICAGO – After helping others in the Chicago area find available shots, a young vaccine hunter was among the first in Cook County’s 12 to 15 age group to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Walking into Cook County’s mass vaccination site in Forest Park, 15-year-old Benjamin Kagan told WGN the moment felt surreal.

“To be able to stand out here and go inside and roll up my sleeve, and get that shot, it just feels absolutely incredible,” Kagan said.

WGN first told viewers about the freshman from Francis Parker back in February when vaccine demand was extremely high and supply extremely low.

“I’ve learned all the different sites,” Kagan told WGN in February. “I know this place drops at midnight. This place drops at 9 p.m.”

As he prepared for his first dose of the vaccine, Kagan reflected upon his group, Chicago Vaccine Angels, who he says has helped thousands of Chicago area residents get their shots.

Benjamin Kagan

“It’s the people that really get to me and keep me going,” Kagan said. “To be able to give them a helping hand and get them vaccinated, it just makes me feels incredible.”

Wednesday was Kagan’s turn.

“I’m done?” Kagan asked after the dose. “That was it? Oh, that was easy.”

Kagan’s friend, Sam Forst, tagged along to get vaccinated.

“I kind of feel for us all of us to be in-person, that’s where we do our best learning, we need to get this shot,” Frost said.

After the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, a CDC panel endorsed the move Thursday, clearing the way for vaccinations to start immediately.

“This is our way out of the pandemic,” said Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal. Doctors with County Health say parents shouldn’t hesitate to vaccinate their children.

Kagan says he’s glad he didn’t have to wait.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” the high schooler said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a very, very long time.”

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