FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — UConn Health began its first-ever vaccine clinic for younger kids on Thursday, just two days after the CDC gave the green light for use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11.
“It’s a little pinch like the flu shot, but it’s helping us to get back to normal lives and hopefully get rid of the masks,” Joanne Boucher, the director of Ambulatory Operations at UConn Health, said.
UConn Health received 600 pediatric-sized doses.
Fifty children were signed up to be vaccinated on Thursday. Another 50 children are signed up for Friday, and a clinic on Saturday has 100 children ready to get the vaccine.
Thursday’s clinic at Outpatient Pavilion on UConn Health’s lower campus started at 7:30 a.m. No walk-ins were accepted for those under 13.
Christian Sager of Hartford was eager to have his kids, Fay and Theo, be among the first group of kids vaccinated.
“There have been all sorts of things we have to say no to,” Sanger said.
The Sagers have said no to air travel and no to many social gatherings. Now that the whole family is vaccinated that can change.
“Mom and I can feel safe about decisions we’re making and we can be more free with where they are,” Sager said.
UConn Health is partnering with the West Hartford/Bloomfield Health District to hold vaccination clinics on Friday, Nov. 12, and Friday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
UConn Health is also partnering with the Tolland school system to visit one of its elementary schools on Nov. 15 to meet the health districts’ vaccination needs for its 5-11 year-olds with their parent/guardian.
All of the clinics are by appointment only.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Boucher said. “Now hitting the next population of the children to help them get more involved with their sports and regular activities. It’s huge. It’s an exciting moment. We’re really happy we’re finally here.”
Nicholas, 10, has been waiting to get the shot since he saw his parents gain some community to COVID.
“I like being immune to viruses, and being able to have a lower percentage that I catch it, and if I do have lower symptoms,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas is also looking forward to added freedom like traveling “away” from the cold front moving into Connecticut this season.
When asked where he wanted to go, Nicholas answered with California and Florida.
The City of Hartford is also partnering with Connecticut Children’s and Dunkin’ Donuts park on a massive vaccine clinic there in the weeks ahead. Health officials and pediatricians across Connecticut encourage people to vaccinate kids, saying the vaccine is safe.
“This is a safe vaccine and I encourage all of you to allow your children the opportunity to move forward with their lives a well and make the nest of it by getting vaccinated,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said.
“In our practice, about half of the families are so excited and can’t wait,” Dr. Jenny Schwab of Rocky Hill Pediatrics said. “But a quarter is worried and concerned about the safety, and I think the other quarter is undecided. So, we are trying to encourage everyone that this is the ticket to their kids getting back to normal life.”
The program has already started scheduling vaccinations by appointment for Saturday. Appointments as of right now are only via its COVID-19 vaccine scheduling number: (860) 679-5589.