WESTBROOK, CT (WFSB) - Health experts are asking parents of high school aged children to make sure their kids get vaccinated as soon as possible because a virus variant is making young people sick around the country.

Doctors said the best defense against the B.1.1.7 variant is vaccination.

More clinics are opening every day to accomplish that goal. In a few hours a new vaccination site is opening at the Middlesex Health Clinic in Westbrook, for example.

The B.1.1.7 variant is highly contagious. Health experts said that it’s affecting young people in the U.S. at an alarming rate.

In Minnesota, more than 740 schools have had cases of the variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.

In Michigan, more and more young people are being hospitalized as cases rise.

In Florida last month, Orange County officials reported a rise in COVID-19 cases in the 18 to 25 age group.

Keep in mind that in Connecticut right now, anyone who is age 16 or older can book a vaccine appointment. Hopefully soon, younger children will be able to as well because right now 12- to 15-year-old kids are participating in clinical trials. Health expert warned they are hugely important because of this new variant.

A COVID varient is said to be affecting young people at an alarming rate.

“These kids now are really a major challenge in terms of how they transmit,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, infectious disease expert.

Currently, teenagers age 16 or 17 you can only get the Pfizer vaccine. Everyone else is eligible for any of the approved COVID-19 shots.

Information about the state’s vaccine rollout, including mass clinic locations, can be found here.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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