Four teens taking a selfie

The best memories are made in person.

Get vaccinated, get back to real life.

Canceled sporting events. Virtual classes. Postponed proms. Livestreamed graduations.

Teen chatting on computer

For the last year and a half, students missed meaningful milestones. Graduation selfies with their closest friends turned into screen shots on a laptop. Hugging grandma and grandpa was replaced with waving at a screen.

Just like the rest of the world, schools everywhere made tough calls about functions and events that would typically bring communities together. While it was all done to keep children and their families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the decisions have resulted in many children and teens missing out on the typical in-person experiences that mark their formative years.

Thankfully, with COVID-19 vaccines now readily available in most communities—and at all UTMB Health primary care clinics—we’re slowly getting back to a bit of normalcy.

Stores and restaurants are opening up, masks are coming off and kids are headed back to school.

While normal back-to-school lists include tasks like getting books, buying supplies and attending orientation, consider adding one more to-do this year—getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Approved for individuals 12 years of age and older, the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can be administered during your routine back-to-school check-up or physical, or individuals can schedule a stand-alone appointment just for the injection—whatever works best for them.

Getting a vaccine is important because not only will it help protect the individual on the receiving end, but it will also help communities achieve herd immunity, which is key to getting us back to the pre-pandemic lifestyle we all love.

To ensure the maximum level of protection before the start of the school year—which in Texas typically begins around mid-to-late-August—individuals should be receiving their first dose during the first few days of July, with a second appointment on the books by the start of August.

For more information, visit or read the fact sheet on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

This school year, kids should be thinking about meeting up with friends, making memories and enjoying life, not worrying about a deadly but preventable disease. Let’s get vaccinated so we can get back to real life.

Group of teens leaving school