Metro Detroit teen experiencing ‘long haul’ COVID symptoms urges others to get vaccinated

Children 12 and older eligible to get vaccinated

Teen urges others to get vaccinated

DETROIT – It’s been more than two weeks since the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for children 12 years old and older.

The CDC said that more than 600,000 in that age group received their first shot in the first few days it was available. Some parents are still hesitant about vaccinating their children.

There’s one teen who wants those parents to hear her story. She’s speaking out and urging others to get vaccinated against COVID.

While most teenagers don’t become seriously ill from COVID, some have and many have also developed “long haul” symptoms that persist long after the initial infection.

READ: Michigan Medicine opens COVID ‘long haul’ clinic for adults, children

It’s been more than a year since Savannah Pressley caught COVID. The 14-year-old is still struggling with the lingering effects.

“I was perfectly healthy before this and I don’t want other kids in this situation,” Pressley said.

Pressley wasn’t able to return to in-person classes due to chronic pain, fatigue and inability to sleep. She lost 26 pounds and experiences bouts of anxiety.

“I miss being able to talk to everybody, do things with everybody, reconnect with my friends,” Pressley said.

While research is continuing into the long-term effects of COVID in kids, efforts to vaccinate children age 12 and older are growing. Pediatricians’ offices are now receiving smaller batches of vaccine that can be stored in regular refrigeration.

“We are very hopeful that any child 12 and up that wants the vaccine for COVID will be able to before the start of school. Supplies of vaccine are plentiful,” pediatrician Dr. Seth Kaplan said.

The CDC is investigating reports of heart problems in a very small number of teens who recently received the vaccine. But public health experts said even the potential risk of a rare side effect don’t outweigh the potential risks of COVID.

Pressley is on a treatment plan that she hopes will make her well enough to go back to school in the fall.

“I lost a year of my life to this. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I am hoping that people will see what’s happening to me and realize that this could happen to anybody and we should get the vaccine,” Pressley said.

We don’t know about the long-term risks of becoming infected with COVID and how that could impact children in the future.

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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.