Killeen ISD has partnered with the Bell County Health District to offer a COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
The district was able to offer the Pfizer vaccine to the younger children for the first time last week, and hundreds showed up.
“For 5-11 year olds, we’re excited to bring that opportunity to those families,” said Taina Maya, KISD’s Chief Communications & Marketing Officer. “It’s really their choice and we understand that a lot of families have taken advantage of this opportunity so far.”
In just the first week, 399 children from that age group received their first dose of the vaccine at the former Nolan high school campus on Jasper Road, according to KISD.
“We really had all our stuff set up behind the scenes, in a matter of days, and we had our vaccines on order,” Maya said. “So the great teamwork and collaboration between all the different partners and entities, which people don’t see behind the scenes, is really quite impressive.”
The rise is a trend that children’s hospitals themselves are seeing.
“We’ve seen a very reasonable first wave. We’ve vaccinated ourselves, over 400 children in our community, and we’re actually in the process of ordering more vaccines,” said Dr. Dominic Lucia MD, Chief Medical Officer, McLane Children’s Hospital.
The wave of children being vaccinated makes doctors hopeful, though they still have to explain why children should get it.
“Is any vaccine perfect? Absolutely not,” said Dr. lucia. “Can you still get COVID even if you’re vaccinated? Absolutely. But these are degrees, so if you get COVID it’s much milder and you stay out of the hospital.”
The fact that the vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective is why even doctors have their children vaccinated.
“They joined their older brother and sister who already have a… [been vaccianted] of the older age group and we are happy to report as a family that we are on our way to being fully vaccinated,” said Dr. lucia.
The plan for KISD is to make the vaccine available to all students every Thursday and Friday, including 5 to 11-year-olds at the former Nolan Middle School campus on Jasper Drive; with the exception of Thanksgiving week, where it occurs on Mondays and Tuesdays.