CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the first weekend since children between ages 5 and 11 have been given the go ahead from federal health officials to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
More than 28 million children are now able to receive their COVID-19 vaccines nationwide. Pfizer’s vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds comes in a smaller dose compared to those ages 12 and up and are given in two doses, three weeks apart.
Currently, there are 500 vaccine sites statewide now offering the 2 dose Pfizer vaccine for kids. The scheduling process for a child isn’t any different than scheduling a shot for an adult. There’s plenty of local appointments available on the state’s Vaxfinder website for this weekend CVS, Walgreens, Big Y and Stop and Shop locally are also providing the vaccine.
In Hampshire County this Sunday, the Northampton Health Department hosted a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children ages 5 to 11.
“It’s going to be a game-changer for COVID-19 having this demographic group vaccinated,” Northampton Public Health Director Merridith O’Leary said. “Schools will look different come the new year and we won’t be opening and closing.”
22News spoke with Eli Hull and his mom Hannah Karpman, who were at the clinic to get Eli’s first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I think the science is clear that it’s a safe choice for kids and the risk of getting covid far outweighs the risk of getting the vaccine,” Karpman said. “What does the COVID vaccine mean for you?”
“Go places!” Eli said.
And while millions sign their kids up for the vaccine, health officials are reminding parents to distract kids so they won’t be afraid of the needles, by offering a reward for getting the shot.
“We talked about a strategy to touch our hands when we get the shot so we can focus somewhere else and we are talking about all the fun things we are going to do after,” Karpman said.
The clinic was held at the Elks Lodge on 17 Spring Street in Florence and run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointments will also be available after school hours for the next six weeks at both the Elks Lodge and several Northampton Public schools