Mon Co. Health Department holds third vaccine clinic for children 5 to 11-years-old

Coronavirus

Monongalia County health Department “Pediatric Pfizer Vaccine Clinic”

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Monongalia Co. Health Department (MCHD) held a third “Pediatric Pfizer Vaccine Clinic” at the WVU Rec Center on Friday afternoon, Nov. 12.

Dr. Lee Smith, executive director of MCHD, said the clinics started last Thursday, Nov. 4 and roughly 200 children were vaccinated. The following day, on Friday, MCHD inoculated about 350. The goal for the third clinic, Smith said, was 500 children.

Staff preparing doses for vaccination

“Right now we have the opportunity to drive the numbers in the community down by getting children vaccinated,” Smith said. “And the data is really clear that they have a great immune response. And in fact, don’t even need as much of a dose as the adults do to mount a good response, so it’s been deemed safe by the FDA, the ACIP, the CDC. And so, that’s why we are giving it. It has that emergency use authorization and this is a great tool to try and bring infections under control.”  

It’s important to have the pediatric vaccination campaign now, Smith said, because cases have plateaued in the county.

Monongalia County, MCHD’s executive director said, is resting at 30 cases per 100,000 people. This means it is in the “red zone”.

“Remember, 25 is the magic number when you drop below the red zone,” Smith said. “So, we continue to see, you know, numbers that are concerning to us. And the other thing is that we have a responsibility to make a safe environment for kids to learn and to be protected in a school environment, so getting these kids vaccinated, we hope is a game-changer.”

Smith standing over the art station for children receiving their vaccine

Smith said this will mean fewer school disturbances and also that these children will be able to protect themselves and their families once fully inoculated.   

MCHD understands that many parents have fears and concerns about getting their children vaccinated, so Smith said he is always working to address those concerns.

A large concern for parents has been myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart.

Myocarditis or pericarditis, your risk of contracting that with COVID if you’re unvaccinated is 30 times greater, if you’re unvaccinated,” Smith said. “The number of people that contract pericarditis, myocarditis tend to be older, not the five through the 11-year-old group, and it’s really a very minuscule amount.”

Beyond parents’ fears, MCHD also recognizes that needles are a scary sight for many children. That is why it has turned its vaccine clinic at WVU into a veritable fun zone.

On Friday, there were stickers, cookies and even live music. Someone walked around with a guitar, playing songs for children who were afraid of the jab.

After their shot, children “stuck it to COVID” by inserting a pin into a printout of a COVID-19 virus. Then, they had to wait in the waiting area.

There, they were treated with coloring sheets, crayons, all the while the movie Frozen played.

“The issue here is what can we do as a population to try and keep infection rates down,” Smith said. “There are people who cannot become vaccinated. There is a responsibility as a community to do all that we can to drive this infection into, you know, not being a problem whatsoever.” 

Smith said MCHD’s effort to vaccinate children is ongoing and will be for the foreseeable future.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, there will be community vaccination clinics.

WVU Medicine will have a total of 500 appointments that will be available from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the WVU Medicine vaccine clinic in the former Sears location at the Morgantown Mall.

Appointments can be scheduled by using MyWVUChart or by calling 855-WVU-CARE.

According to WVU Medicine, children who currently have COVID-19 are not eligible for the vaccine. Anyone who believes their child may have COVID and have symptoms consistent with the disease should contact their primary care provider and obtain a test. WVU Medicine COVID-19 testing locations and hours can be found online here

For more information on COVID-19, visit WVUMedicine.org/COVID

As far as drive-up vaccination sites go, Smith said there will be two on Saturday.

“Monongalia County Health Department is doing both adult and Pfizer pediatric doses at the Bula Baptist Church out in the Blacksville area,” Smith said.

A vaccinated child with Musket, the WVU Mountaineer’s dog

The other drive-up clinic will be in Westover.

“The other one is at Pantry Plus More, the food pantry in Westover,” Smith said. “We’re really excited about getting vaccines out to these kids ages 5-11. I think that’ll really have a nice impact on the amount of infection we’re seeing with COVID in the community.”

You can visit MCHD’s website to register you and your child for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Or, simply to find out when the next vaccine clinic will be located.

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