WACO, Texas – In the year 2020, COVID-19 spread across the globe – but this year is focused on ending the pandemic through vaccine distribution.
Friday was the first day children ages five to eleven could get the COVID-19 vaccine in Central Texas after the CDC approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids on Tuesday.
“I thought it was going to hurt, but it surprisingly didn’t. It just pinched,” said Weston Lion, who got his first COVID-19 shot Friday morning.
The five to eleven age group includes about 28 million children across the country, and the kid-size doses are a third of the amount given to adults and teens.
“We’re just happy. We’ve been counting the days,” says parent Jennifer Lion.
For Jennifer and her son Weston, this day could not have come soon enough.
“I feel so much better. Like that one step that, you know, just the worry. I can sleep with at least one eye shut now,” said Jennifer.
The two drove all the way from Killeen to get Weston his first shot and his mom’s booster shot.
“I was searching and searching, over and over, trying to find it, and I’m very happy that this was here, because it was really hard to find anywhere, They even said that they had the one for children in our area, and we don’t even know when they are going to have it next,” said Jennifer.
In a study of over 2,200 children, the vaccine was almost 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms among kids. Parents say they hope this step brings us one step closer to normalcy.
“I’m hoping that this will kind of help to get the pandemic closer to being under control, you know? We want life to go back to a little….be of somewhat normal, you know? And hopefully this will help,” says parent Rachel Ballard.
Ballard’s daughter is five years old, and she says giving her daughter the shot was no question.
“Things aren’t safe. And ever since it started, we’ve been worried about her. We were able to get our vaccines, but she wasn’t. So we wanted to make sure that she was protected,” said Ballard.
While some families are on the fence about whether and when to vaccinate younger children, parents who took their kids on Friday say they trust the science.
“I try to listen to them, what they say, and kind of see what they are worried about. And I’m also a biology major, so I believe in the science and understand that I actually feel more comfortable with these vaccines than I have with ones in the past,” said Jennifer.
They are hoping a pinch now will protect them in the future.
“I mean, we vaccine him for everything else. So, of course this was very important for us,” said Jennifer.
Youngsters looking to get vaccinated will receive two shots three weeks apart – just like adults.
Vaccinations by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District continue Saturday and Sunday at two mobile clinics – Saturday at the China Spring Intermediate School, located at 4001 Flat Rock Road, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday at the First United Methodist Church, located at 4901 Cobbs Drive, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.