MERIDEN — The city held its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic for children ages 5 to 11 on Saturday following FDA authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for that age group.
More than 500 children received the first of two doses during the clinic at Maloney High School, with a second shot clinic scheduled for Dec. 4 at Maloney.
The city’s Department of Health and Human Services scheduled the event in advance of authorization, Director Lea Crown said. Parents received registration forms through the online Parent Square platform.
“When we got the notice that we could pre-order vaccinations for the 5-11 age group, we did so immediately. We knew that the CDC and FDA authorizations were going to happen this week, so we didn’t want to delay,” Crown said Saturday.
Michelle Williams brought her daughter Chanel Williams to the clinic because she said it was “extremely important.”
“I actually work in the school system,” Michelle Williams said. “It’s just important because I believe everyone should get the vaccine. We’re in a pandemic and our children are getting COVID.”
She went on to say that she has been vaccinated since April and thinks this will be another layer of protection for her daughter.
COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 make up 39% of cases in individuals younger than 18, according to health officials. Approximately 8,300 COVID-19 cases in children 5 to 11 resulted in hospitalization and as of Oct. 17 there were 691 deaths from COVID-19 reported in the U.S. in individuals less than 18 years of age, with 146 deaths in the 5 to 11 age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Pfizer vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 to 11, according to the FDA. Prior to the recent emergency use authorization, the vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5 through 11 who received the vaccine with no serious side effects detected in the ongoing study, the FDA reports.
The pediatric vaccine is administered as a two-dose primary series, three weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals 12 years of age and older (30 micrograms).Keeping kids in school
Gov. Ned Lamont and state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani urged parents to have their children vaccinated in a joint statement last week.
“Keeping students in school has been one of my biggest priorities and having vaccines available for more kids is an important component of this effort,” Lamont said.
Sharon McCarthy brought her daughters Erin and Kathy McCarthy to Saturday’s clinic. Her girls love school, she said, and want to stop missing out because of making possible contact with someone who has tested positive.
After the receiving the vaccine, the children were able to pick out candy and a small stuffed animal before waiting 15 minutes to make sure they didn’t have a major reaction.
The clinic was held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in collaboration between the health and fire departments. There were nine vaccinators including three firefighters and 6 school nurses to give the children some familiar faces. EMS were also on stand by.
Meredith White and Madison Quicquaro, 10, were pleased with how easy it was for Quicquaro to get her vaccine. Quicquaro said she felt good and wasn’t feeling any symptoms.
“It was great, it was really efficient,” White said. “We came right in a couple minutes early and moved right along. It seems highly organized which is impressive.”
Crown said last week the city would soon publish information about other upcoming pediatric vaccine clinics on the city's COVID-19 web page.
Vaccine providers also include hundreds of pediatricians across the state. For families whose pediatricians are not offering the vaccine, state health officials recommend contacting local pharmacies, as well. Many pharmacy chain locations and independent pharmacies offer the pediatric vaccine.
To schedule an appointment at CVS go to https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine/kids#locator. For Walgreens, go to https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid/19/landing.
State agencies and local school districts are also collaborating to offer school-based clinics, like that at Maloney, across the state.
Information about those clinics will be provided by local school districts.
More information about COVID-19 vaccines and providers can be found at https://portal.ct.gov/Vaccine-Portal.