Teen hosts ‘Vaccs by the Tracks’ event to get other teens vaccinated

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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — With the Pfizer vaccine now available to children 12 years and up, a local teen saw a chance to help his peers get their shot.

Elijah Smith is a rising senior at Elizabethton High School, and he’s eager to have a normal senior year.

“Me and other teenagers my age — we want to get back to normal; we want to go back to the lives that we were living a year and a half ago, two years ago, and the things that we didn’t appreciate at the time and now we appreciate,” said Smith.

Smith saw an opportunity to get vaccines in more people’s arms — especially other teenagers — and got to organizing.

A member of the high school swim team, Smith worked with the high school swim team and Athletics Department, Region AHEAD, Carter County Health Department and Ballad Health to set up the event deemed “Vaccs by the Tracks” for its proximity to Tweetsie Trail.

The Region AHEAD mobile vaccine unit posted up at Elizabethton High School Saturday morning from 8 a.m. until noon.

Ballad Health was eager to help with the event and was impressed with Smith and his teammates’ initiative.

“We are trying to get these mobile events out in the community all throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia to get the different vaccines out into the community,” said Courtney Ding, Business Manager for Mobile Vaccine Unit. “It is absolutely incredible to have Elijah and these teens interested in events like this, to have them initiate, come up with these ideas and initiate this project has been absolutely incredible, and we are so thankful for their support.”

Smith hopes this won’t be the only event of it’s kind.

“My one goal for this would be to maybe inspire some other people my age and even not my age — it doesn’t really matter — to host more of these events,” he said.

Thirteen people were vaccinated through the event.

Those interested in setting up an event with the mobile vaccine unit should contact Courtney Ding at courtney.ding@balladhealth.org.

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