Unique preparations underway to vaccinate young kids

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Monroe County Health Department reports it has vaccinated more than 200 kids over opening weekend now that Pfizer vaccines are available for younger age groups.

The Edgerton Recreation Center opened for appointments Sunday. Before the pediatric vaccine clinics could open, officials say it took some serious planning.

Health officials at the rec center say they were close to a full house with 60 slots available, filling a little over 50 of them.

"It’s a different dynamic. When we started all of this, you had the dome, the hospital, and the fleet center, you only had a few places to go, and now we have lots of places,” said Stephen Cook, the clinical lead for the Monroe County Health Department.

Vaccine approval for more ages has opened more clinics. Young ones ages 5 up to 11 were approved to get a dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Health officials say giving this shot to kids is very different than vaccinating adults, so preparation was crucial.

"We brought in pediatric vaccinators, we brought in pediatric nurses and also extra pediatric nurses to set up trainings for other experienced vaccinators who maybe haven’t vaccinated kids,” Cook said.

Upping pediatric staff to interact and administer the shot was a must because they have specialized training to connect with this age group. There were also more hands-on deck from the pharmaceutical side because these doses of the vaccine are different.

"The adult dose is different. "It’s a different vial, and we didn’t want to have the potential for a mistake, so we are only doing the pediatric vaccine here and as we get used to it more, we’re going to look at how we can incorporate it into more settings,” Cook added.

Cook says any parents that have concerns or questions should consult with their family’s pediatrician. He says the outcome in this age range with the vaccine has been reassuring.

"This is a safer dose from side effects but there still will be some side effects but just not as many and we know that it is effective. There is always going to be some type of rare event and we can never do a study big enough to detect those but from what we’ve seen so far is very reassuring.”

The R Center says it hopes to get to a point where they can start taking walk-in’s, but for now, you have to register for an appointment on the county website.