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Local hospital begins administering COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5-11

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Now that a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids ages 5-11, vaccine clinics are preparing to take on increased demand.

Augusta Health says it is ready to open its clinics for children after preparing for the rollout for a few weeks, knowing approval was coming soon. Isaac Izzillo, Director of COVID Vaccinations and Education at Augusta Health, says has talked to parents who are eager for their kids to have protection against COVID-19.

Izzillo says the children’s clinics will only be for 5 to 11-year-olds, and he says they have trained staff to help kids through the vaccination process.

“We’re making it kid centric and really focused so we limit any errors and really increasing the safety for that population,” said Izzillo.

He says they are doing that to make sure the kids are comfortable, as well as avoiding any mistakes in dosage. There have been instances in the country of a child receiving a full dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on accident, and Izzillo says that’s why they are dividing the clinics up by age.

Overall, Izzillo says the community response to the smaller dose rollout has been strong.

“There’s been a great response so far. We have our clinic for tonight filled. We’re about three-fourths filled for tomorrow. We anticipate standing up a clinic next week,” Izzillo said.

Izzillo says Augusta Health has enough vaccines to meet demand, especially since the Central Shenandoah Health District will also administer vaccines to everyone five and older.

“I think we have enough to meet the needs. They’ve put us on allocations for the next three weeks, so we know what we’re going to get each week for three weeks, and we’ll see what we’re able to accomplish,” Izzillo said.

In order to get vaccinated a child must have a parent or legal guardian present to consent, along with an appointment. The clinics for children are in the afternoons from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. to accommodate the age group, Izzillo said.

Izzillo says these vaccines are also a two-dose series, like the doses for adults. Experts say kids and adults should expect similar side effects, including but not limited to fatigue, injection site pain, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain and fever.

Anyone with questions can call Augusta Health’s vaccine call center: (540) 332-5122.

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