Capital Region vaccine distributors outline progress rolling out COVID shots to kids 5-11

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — You sometimes need to come up with creative angles to get kids to take their shots. Now that Pfizer’s low-dose COVID vaccine is finally in the hands of distributors, each has a very different way of getting them to kids between five to 11.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin says in the week since official approval and rollout started, his health department has decided to avoid school clinics and vaccine pods for kids.

“I think it’s intimidating. You know, and especially some of the special needs kids, you know you take them into a pod-type situation, and it’s very disorienting, it’s very tough for them. Our approach is getting it out to the pediatricians. It’s more comfortable for the kids, and it’s better for parents because they get the ability to discuss this with their pediatrician,” McLaughlin explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

On the other hand in Schenectady County, officials anticipated the vaccine approval and sent a survey to local pediatricians. When very few responded that they would offer the COVID inoculations, Interim Public Health Director Keith Brown says plans were put in place to set up 16 vaccine clinics at local schools.

“Not every parent can get to a pediatrician right now, and we are also happy to fill those gaps. The second best option is to be in an environment where kids are already comfortable, and for many of them that is their school,” Brown says.

He says counties were able to order their doses from the state before full approval was issued, so long as they were not distributed until the appropriate time. Schenectady’s doses came in on Election Day, and upon the announced approval the next day, a few kids were immediately vaccinated at local pods. the appointments at schools have filled up quickly as well, and Brown says Schenectady County has already vaccinated more than 700 kids.

“It’s been disruptive for kids to be on quarantine and to miss class time, especially with the lack of virtual options now in many districts. It’s been tough for kids and you know, being vaccinated means that if you’re not having symptoms and there’s exposure, you don’t have to quarantine,” Brown goes on to say.

Pharmacies were also quick on the uptake. CVS reports Pfizer’s doses delivered directly from the federal government came in quickly to 126 locations in New York with the first appointments getting shots into arms Sunday. Now that appointments via the CVS website and app have also quickly filled up, the focus is on keeping kids comfortable.

“It’s pretty exciting. Leading up in the past couple of weeks before we started on Sunday, we were getting a lot of phone calls to the pharmacy, parents eager to vaccinate their kids. There were a lot of walking people to the pharmacy as well,” says Albany CVS Pharmacist Stephen Gagnon.

“They’re so excited to get their vaccine. I love to see them and really thank them for doing the right thing, greet the kids with enthusiasm, and tell them how brave I think they’re being,” he goes on to say.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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