DENVER — Soon after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved COVID vaccines for kids ages 5-11, the demand for pediatric doses increased.
Parents scoured the internet for appointments. According to NBC, 15 million doses have already been shipped to hospitals, pharmacies and doctors offices around the country. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said his administration was ready to meet demand.
"I think you have to be on this site all day long in order to get an appointment," parent Brie Reimann said. "Or just know somebody that will look out for you and send you an opening."
Reimann was one of those parents that began to the search the minute she knew about the approval. The mom was lucky enough to snag her kids appointments for mid-November.
"We have a kindergartener and a fourth grader, and both are exposed every day to hundreds of kids in elementary school," Reimann said. "They’re wearing masks, but we just worry about the exposure that they might have, that we can’t prevent."
Reimann was one of the many parents that searched the Colorado Vaccine Hunters Facebook page for an appointment. The group was popular in the spring with the initial vaccine rollout, and up until Tuesday, was not as active.
"I got to say, we thought we kind of accomplished our mission with getting people vaccinated so quickly in Colorado," the creator of the group, Doug Ward, said. "We haven’t seen much action and [now] we are seeing so much help support from people throughout this group to get children vaccinated across the state."
Kids around the country get vaccinated after CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11
Parents filled the group's feed searching or sharing appointments for children this week. Since the initial CDC announcement, more appointments have opened up but the entire experience had Reimann a little sad after she landed her children's appointments.
"I felt a little bit of guilt in a way to be quite honest," she said. "I had a lot of reflections on equity and actually the families that may not have access to internet, so for those families that can't hit refresh on the COVAX website they might be at a loss as well so bridging that divide and making sure that everyone has access is really important."
Ward agreed he does not feel like a Facebook group should be the answer to vaccine access but for the time being he's grateful so many people in a social media community want to help.
"We hope to not have to do this in the future but we really embrace the compassion of everyone throughout this journey," he said.
Ward advises parents searching for appointments to be patient and search outside of your zip code. He said others have found success in getting appointments a little further away, due to the demand in the Denver metro area.
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