Across America about 900,000 kids age 5-11 have already received their first dose of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 700,000 more have appointments.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is expected to release numbers on how many of those shots have been given in the state this week. At Yale New Haven Health, about 1,300 5-11-year-olds have been vaccinated so far, and the first several thousand appointments made available were gone quickly, according to Dr. Thomas Murray, the director of infection prevention at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.
"When we put up the 3,000 appointments initially, we had no idea what it was going to be and when it filled as fast as it did. I was getting emails from pediatricians saying, 'Hey, when are you going to have more appointments for our patients?' And I give a ton of credit to our vaccine leadership. They got those appointments -an additional 2,000 opened over the weekend. So demand has exceeded our expectations."
Yale New Haven set up five different dedicated pediatric clinics and is partnering with pediatricians in the community, redistributing doses to those offices. So far, 4,700 appointments have been booked.
Murray says local families are excited their younger loved ones are finally able to take this step.
"Parents are extremely relieved. That's a common theme and very excited because being fully vaccinated just opens up a whole new world of things that you can do congregate activities like concerts you can go to it just really kind of helps relieve provide some peace of mind," Murray said.
Demand for child vaccinations is high right now, but that likely won't last, similar to what was seen with the 12-15 age group. If you're a parent still on the fence about getting a child a shot, Murray has two things to consider.
"Although Covid is generally mild in children, there are some children who have serious infection. Additionally, we still don't fully understand the post-Covid consequences for children who've had infection. So that's the first one. The second point are those that are around the child who come into frequent contact, younger siblings who aren't eligible for vaccination, grandparents who babysit or help out that they spend a lot of time with, those are the kind of people that you offer additional protection to by vaccinating."
Doctors remind parents that children who begin their series of shots this week will be fully vaccinated by Christmas.