(WISH) — The state health department reports fewer than 9,000 kids ages 5-11 in Indiana have been given their first does of the COVID-19 vaccine despite it being available for more than a week.
State leaders hope that number grows significantly this weekend with the opening of several new vaccine clinics.
The Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Noblesville is one place offering kids’ vaccinations. Christian Walker, the emergency preparedness coordinator for the Hamilton County Health Department, said kids’ vaccinations are “an important step. You know, we’re looking at potentially removing masks in the school districts.”
- Marion, Hamilton counties to start offering COVID vaccine for children
- Riley Children’s Health to host Saturday COVID vaccine clinics for kids
The demand for vaccines at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds clinic is exceeding the supply, for now. Walker said, “The state department of health is doing a rollout similar to when we first started vaccinating the adults as well, so we all are getting an allocation based on our population.”
Hamilton County’s clinic requires appointments for kids 5-11. Appointments can be made for any Hoosier wanting to be vaccinated at ourshot.in.gov.
Walker says a lot of it ties back to their high vaccination rates of adults. “It’s those parents that have been vaccinated as well and the grandparents that want to see their kids especially with the holidays coming up. This is that one more thing we can do to safeguard ourselves and our families,” he said.
Riley Children’s Health in downtown Indianapolis will host several pop-up clinics starting Saturday for kids ages 5-11. Dr. John Christenson, Riley Hospital for Children’s medical director of infection prevention, says the Saturday clinics are critical to help slow the spread of the virus.
“The group 5-11 is a group that is very critical that we vaccinated them because they can transmit infections not only among themselves, but to adults that are at risk of severe infection,” Christenson said.
Riley Children’s Health will host four pop-up clinics through December at the Riley’s Simon Family Tower lobby, and appointments are required. Christenson wants to let parents know that the vaccine is effective.
“If they have any questions, discuss it with their health care provider so that way their child can be vaccinated. The benefits no doubt outweigh any potential risk of the vaccine,” Christenson said.