HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut Children’s is teaming up with the Hartford Yard Goats and the City of Hartford to get as many children in the five to 11 age group vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible. The announcement was made Wednesday at Dunkin’ Donuts park.
It’s been 24 hours since the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the go-ahead to vaccinate kids aged 5 to 11, and people are lining up.
While many pediatric offices, as well as pharmacies, are preparing to offer vaccines as the doses start to roll into the state, the City of Hartford and Connecticut Children’s are partnering with the Hartford Yard Goats to provide a much larger venue to get more people vaccinated.
Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Yard Goats, will once again open its doors to vaccinate the public.
Physician in Chief at CT Children’s Juan Salazar said, “It is a tremendous battle that we have fought over 23 months, and now kids can get vaccinated; they can be free, they can be safe.”
From the health director on down, doctors are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated because this will put them back on the road to a normal school year, plus it will eliminate a lot of testing when there’s a positive case in schools.
Dr. Jenny Schwab of Rocky Hill Pediatrics explained, “The number of kids that are quarantined, the poor kids who come to the doctor and cry when we put the Q-tip up their nose, they are getting tested repeatedly, they are getting quarantined repeatedly, and while not all kids get sick, some get really sick.”
Dr. Schwab says 2-million kids in the five to 11 age group have gotten COVID, 38,000 have been hospitalized. The vaccine is a safe and easy way to reduce the risk of COVID.
Dr. Manisha Juthani, the state commissioner for the Department of Public Health, explained there are trying to get as many kids vaccinated as possible, “to get back to normalcy in education and in socializing, and then being with her friends.”
She assured parents, “this is a safe vaccine and I encourage all of you to allow your children the opportunity to move forward with their lives as well and make the best of it by getting vaccinated.”
Dunkin’ Donuts Park will host two large clinics available to the public to ease the pressure on the pediatric offices that may not have logistics in place to handle the cold storage, the staff to draw the vaccine, or the waiting room space.
The Park has it all, the question is how many people are going to be coming in to get their shots?
Dr. Schwab said, “In our practice, about half of the families are so excited and can’t wait, but a quarter are worried and concerned about the safety and I think the other quarter are undecided, so we are trying to encourage everyone that this is the ticket to their kids getting back to normal life.”
Doctors say there is very little downside to the vaccine. There were zero cases of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle – in the clinical trials, and kids have milder symptoms than adults.
Dr. Salazar added, kids may experience, “soreness at the shot, they may have some flu-like illness, perhaps a little achy for a day or so, a little bit not as energetic, but they get up, they go quickly. And kids do far better than the adults do, so very minimal side effects.”
The vaccine clinics will be open Sunday, Nov. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations are strongly encouraged, but walk-ins will be taken.