CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — As of November 2nd, the CDC announced children aged five to 11 years old are eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Monday, one school district in the Mountain State—in partnership with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department—began giving vaccinations to kids and their parents, along with anyone else in the community who is eligible.
“This round of vaccine clinics is really crucial because it’s a whole new age population. These are kids that haven’t had the opportunity to get vaccinated up until this point, which is a really big deal for us in getting to the end of this thing,” says Hannah Petracca, public information officer for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
These doses going into arms are targeted for kids ages five to 11 and have some differences:
“It’s just Pfizer at this time that’s been approved for the five to 11 group, and it’s also a pediatric dose. So it’s a smaller dose amount and it’s actually drawn [up] differently, so we have it completely separated from the other vaccinations that we’re giving just to ensure that it’s being done properly,” Petracca says.
Cabell County Schools says anyone from the community is welcome to attend and get their vaccinations.
News of these new opportunities for students in the district is welcomed by administrators we spoke with.
“It gives our parents another level of protection for their families. It also gives us as a school the opportunity to keep these kids in school longer…It gives us some stability, also consistency, with these kids. We need to keep them in school as many days as possible so that our teachers can do their jobs more effectively, and that’s to educate these kids,” says Jody Sowards, principal of Central City Elementary School.
Not only that, school nurses say this new opportunity to get this age group vaccinated will help them day-to-day as well.
“COVID has been very tough on the school nurses; not only do we have our regular duties but we’re seeing a lot more sick kids more frequently… It will decrease the number that we have quarantined from exposures,” says Katie Cornwell, R.N., school nurse at Central City Elementary School.
Parents who came to the vaccination clinic say they’re excited about the opportunity to get their children vaccinated.
“Because he has a brother that is immunocompromised, so he is the youngest of the family so being able to get him vaccinated and be the last one to be protected is very helpful to know that we don’t have to worry as much,” says Melissa Lane, whose son Sawyer got the vaccine Monday.
“I’ve been wanting to get their vaccines and I didn’t want to drive all the way to Huntington to do it so it’s very convenient to be able to do it here,” Tracy Garrett, parent of Cabell County students.
“The opportunity to get back out there and play sports and do theater or do more of the things inside—that’s a really big thing he’s looking forward to playing basketball this year so having the vaccine is something that’s going to help us feel reassured,” says Kim Corriher, whose son Gaffney got the COVID-19 vaccine Monday.
The first clinic is at Milton Middle School from 3:30 pm through 7:00 pm. For more information about the locations of the next vaccination clinics for this age group throughout the week, visit the school district’s website here.