By Robbie Owens

SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – For more than a year, pandemic life has meant navigating a sea of uncertainty.

And yet, we know this: COVID kills.

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“It can be a perfectly, seemingly healthy 35-year-old, you just don’t know,” says Shannon Gornell of Southlake.

Gornell lost her dad, Arthur Brown, Jr., last August. “None of us are over it. It was devastating.”

The loss led Gornell to volunteer for the Pfizer vaccine trial and now her teenage sons are scheduled to get vaccines next week.

“Just the kind of kid Will is,” says Gornell of her teenage son. “He’s definitely doing it for my dad. He’s definitely doing it for others. I have an 18-year-old who is also planning on getting it.”

(credit: Gornell family)

The enthusiasm for the vaccine growing as Pfizer announcing that its trial of 12 to 15 year olds showing it is both safe and 100% effective.

“It’s the same vaccine,” says Jeffrey Kahn, M.D., Chief of Infectious Disease at Children’s Health in Dallas. “And in fact, that’s why the findings aren’t necessarily all that surprising.”

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Dr. Kahn says he still wants to see how long the protection lasts and whether the vaccines are as effective against fast spreading variants.

Still, he says getting children protected will be critical to ending the pandemic.

“Children, or individuals who are less than 18 years of age, represent about a quarter of the population,” says Dr. Kahn. “So, we’re never going to achieve herd immunity, if we’re not immunizing a quarter of the population.”

Austin mom Jennifer Caudle says her three children, 12, 14, and 16, volunteered for the Pfizer trial at Austin Regional Clinic.

She says the side effects convinced her that two had gotten actual doses.

“After the second dose, two of my children had fevers and one of them, vomited, but it was completely resolved within about 30 hours, so it wasn’t for very long,” says Caudle.

And the protection, these families say, well worth it.

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“Whatever,” says Gornell, “whatever we need to do, to get back to life.”