TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Stormont Vail Health has started rolling out vaccinations for kids aged 5-11. Their first customer, Luke Phillips, a 5-year-old from Topeka, lined up early Monday morning with his parents to get Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine.
Luke, the first child to get vaccinated at Stormont Vail, said he got his shot to help end the coronavirus pandemic.
“So, the COVID could be over!” he said.
Luke was joined by his mother, Rebecca Phillips, at Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy near S.W. 10th and MacVicar. One of two locations the community health service is offering the pediatric vaccine. Phillips, who works at Stormont Vail Hospital, also got her booster shot Monday, and is encouraging others to do the same.
“The more people that get vaccinated the more we can all get back to normal,” Phillips said. “Just seeing how many patients come in with COVID, and how young they are, and just the variety of people that are so critically ill, just from COVID. And, more than likely, they probably are not vaccinated, and then it’s too late. It’s very, very sad to see.”
Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was authorized by the CDC and FDA last week. The governor announced that vaccinations for kids ages 5-11 will be available across the state, the following day.
All five to 11-year-old children can now receive their Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from a large network of vaccine providers across Kansas, including doctor’s offices, retail pharmacies, local health departments and clinics. The shots for kids in this age group will use one-third of the dose used for adults.
Stormont Vail Pharmacy Manager, Joseph Rogers, said the pharmacy is seeing high demand for child vaccinations. Rogers said he encourages parents to get the vaccine, as safety concerns grow with kids back in school.
“Not the majority, but many of the positive cases that we’re seeing are coming from schools, and so, as much as we can keep kids in school, and not having to quarantine at home, during that time frame, all the better,” Rogers said.
Phillips said similar concerns crossed her mind, as she worried for her child’s safety. She said she was “relieved” to add an extra layer of protection for her son.
“Having this available for kids his age, and if parents are willing to get them in to get vaccinated, schools can get back to normal, and he won’t have to live a life of masks, and that’s all he remembers,” said Phillips.
Phillips said the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh side effects, like “fatigue.” She said the amount of research that’s gone into the vaccine and authorization from the CDC, made her feel comfortable enough to take her child to get vaccinated.
Luke also said he felt “good” after getting his vaccine.
“You don’t have to wear a mask around anybody, even in the store,” said Luke.
Stormont Vail Health is also offering pediatric vaccines at Cotton O’Neal Pediatrics Clinic, near S.W. 15th and Gage. To schedule an appointment, click here.