CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has started administering a newly approved pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to children 5 to 11 years old.
What You Need To Know
- Cincinnati Children’s hospital began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children 5 to 11 on Wednesday
- The CDC approved expanded use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine earlier this week
- About 430 newly eligible children received the vaccine on the first day;
- Demand was so great they had to turn away walk-ins on Day 1
The medical center held its first vaccine clinic for that age group on its Avondale campus on Wednesday. It was a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend the expanded use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Nurses vaccinated about 430 children who are between the ages of 5 and 11 on Wednesday. They administered 456 total vaccines among all age groups throughout the day.
Verity, 8, was one of the first children in the 5-to-11 age range to receive the vaccine at the clinic.
“I’m immunocompromised,” Verity said. “I can’t technically live without this vaccine because if I get COVID, I’m toast. I just really want this. And I want all my friends to see that this vaccine isn’t scary at all. … It didn’t hurt.”
Patty Manning, MD, said clinical trials have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective.
“The kids have said they are genuinely so excited. They are so happy. This is a day they have been waiting for,” said Manning, who’s the chief-of-staff at Cincinnati Children’s. “From the families, there’s a tremendous relief, gratitude, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been really nice.”
During the course of the pandemic, more than 206,000 Ohio children have contracted COVID-19, more than 2,000 have been hospitalized and 15 have died, according to data from the state.
“While it remains true that children are less likely than adults to get severely ill from COVID-19, they most certainly can and do become ill, even seriously, and can suffer lasting complications of the virus,” Ohio Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Wednesday during a news conference. He encouraged families to seek out vaccination appointments for their newly eligible children.
The initial statewide rollout included more than 367,000 doses. Cincinnati Children’s received its first shipment of the pediatric dose Tuesday directly from Pfizer.
Officials from Cincinnati Children’s called demand for the vaccine “heavy.”
Due to the large crowds on Wednesday, they had to stop accepting walk-ins at 5:30 p.m., two hours earlier than planned. They continued administering vaccines to those with reservations or already in line.
A hospital spokesperson said their website was “flooded with requests for appointments” soon after they began accepting registration Tuesday evening. Nearly 1,500 children ages 5 to 11 have been scheduled to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine through Nov. 27 at Cincinnati Children’s locations.
The medical center held another clinic Thursday at their Liberty Campus in Butler County. It was open until 7:30 p.m., with walk-ins accepted between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Planned future vaccine clinics will take place at the Liberty Campus, as well as the Green Township outpatient center, the Hopple Street Health Center and Cincinnati Children’s primary care offices.
While they prefer appointments, they will accept walk-ins.
On Saturday, walk-ins will be accepted from 8 to 10 a.m. at Cincinnati Children’s Main Campus in Avondale.
They’ll also be accepted from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday at the Liberty Campus and Tuesday at the Green Township site. Other dates are forthcoming.
Because demand is great, Cincinnati Children’s urges parents to check their website over the next few days as additional appointment times are added. They should also check with their primary care provider.
Manning said she can appreciate the seriousness with which families make the decision to vaccinate, especially for younger children. But she said the vaccine has proven to be “safe and effective.”
“We’re so fortunate at Cincinnati Children’s to have had a front-row seat to the development of this vaccine because of clinical trials that we conducted with the help of hundreds of children and adults in Greater Cincinnati,” she said. “These studies have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective, and so we are confident that this is the right choice to keep your child safe, to keep your family members safe, and to protect our community.”
Manning said parents who have questions about the vaccine should talk with their child’s pediatrician.
Additional information about COVID-19 and the vaccine are available on the Cincinnati Children’s website. Parents or guardians may request an appointment for their child there as well.