COLORADO, USA — One day after the CDC officially recommended Pfizer's COVID19 vaccines for children ages 5-11, some of the youngest Coloradans rolled up their sleeves for the shot.
Wednesday afternoon, National Jewish Health hosted a vaccine event and about 50 kids got their first shots.
“That shot was really easy,” said nine-year old Devan Raychaudhuri. “Yeah, barely hurt at all.”
Devan volunteered to go first so his little brother, six-year old Dylan, could see how easy the process was.
“So that I could show Dylan it’s not a big deal, that he can do it,” he said.
“They did awesome. They were so brave,” said the boys’ father, Uttiyo Raychaudhuri. “They were looking forward to this.”
Raychaudhuri said his family just moved to Denver from New York last year, meaning his kids had to learn a new school system and social situation during the pandemic, with all the pandemic restrictions. He credited his boys for their resilience, and said having the kids vaccinated will mean more opportunities in their new hometown moving forward.
“For us, it's maybe going to mean we can travel. Maybe we can see friends. I’ll feel a lot more confident when they go to school,” he said.
For 10-year old David Battistelli, the shot was quick and easy. For his mom, Paula, it came with instant relief.
“He has a preexisting condition, he has asthma,” she said. “So he comes [to National Jewish Health] often.”
“I’m a walking cootie machine!” David added, for laughs.
Battistelli said, like other families with higher risk, her family had to make difficult choices during the pandemic to keep David safe. Once he’s fully vaccinated, she’s looking forward to fewer limitations.
“We’ll actually be able to take a breath and see some family, and we won’t have to worry about potential hospital visits because of COVID 19.”
State and local health leaders expect the child vaccine rollout to look different than adults, and are looking to make the experience more family-friendly.
At National Jewish Health, children were taken into private rooms with their parents to receive a shot. The hospital had child-life specialists on hand to help distract or calm children when they became scared or overwhelmed. All the children were taken to a toy box after their shot to pick out an item to take home with them.
“We met and thought about it,” said Dr. Hara Levy, division head of pediatric pulmonology at the hospital. “We want to make them feel comfortable and ease them into the process.”
She added, “We have been anxiously awaiting this milestone. We felt like kids have sort of been in the back of the line. It’s nice to see them finally approve the vaccine for their age group.”
Trish Raque brought her two sons, Asher, 10, and Auden, 8, for their vaccine shots on Wednesday. Asher has down syndrome, which puts him at higher risk of severe illness for COVID19.
“When I signed on to get appointment, I cheered,” Raque said. “Like getting concert tickets to the biggest concert of my life.”
Like other parents, she described feeling “relieved” with her son's vaccinations.
“We’ve tried to take every measure we could to keep him safe. Thinking about everything I’m doing, his dad is doing, the risk of possibly bring [the virus] home to him. Its just been something that’s in the forefront of our mind,” she said. “Every decision has been about, ‘What is the risk level inherent in that activity?’”
“I think it’s just – I’ll sleep a little bit better [now].”
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