Local News

Nearly 900,000 NC kids soon eligible for COVID vaccine; pediatricians prepare for rush

Posted October 26, 2021 5:36 p.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2021 6:43 p.m. EDT

— A handful of pediatricians in Wake County are getting ready to begin vaccinating young children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19.

State health officials say North Carolina should receive more than 411,000 doses in three waves. Some doses from the first wave could arrive as early as Wednesday.

With an estimated 892,795 children eligible for the vaccine, those doses could get 46% of kids vaccinated within the first few weeks.

Some parents are already eagerly calling to ensure their children get access to a vaccine in the first wave. Pediatric centers in Cary, Apex and Fuquay-Varina already have a waiting list of more than 700 families.

Dr. Brian Bowman of Apex Pediatrics is preparing for a little chaos as families rush for the vaccines.

"They see it as their opportunity to hang out with their friends in different places, go to the movies, to be able to have the community opened back up to them," he said.

Oberlin Road Pediatrics is expecting to receive 900 to 1200 doses of Pfizer's pediatric vaccine in the first wave. They've converted a school bus into a colorful and welcoming clinic, and as early as November 5, they plan to be giving COVID-19 shots to younger children.

Kids will come in every 5 minutes – stepping on board the Cool Bus, a fun and comfortable space that will hopefully distract kids from the anxiety of getting a shot. It has air conditioning to help circulate and purify the air, and everybody has to wear a mask.

"The kids love it. They think it’s so fun to be able to go onto a school bus and get a shot," said Lori Snyder, office manager for Oberlin Road Pediatrics.

Oberlin Road Pediatrics will only vaccinate current patients.

Amy Cade, a 7-year-old who came with her dad to get a flu shot, left with a Barbie sticker – and the expectation to return for a COVID shot.

The young girl shared some wise words: "It’s better to get hurt with the needle not to get coronavirus."

"She managed it on her own," said her proud dad. "She actually asked that I step out so she could handle it in private."

To help remove confusion, pediatric vaccine vials will have an orange cap and different labeling than the 12-and-up vaccine, which has a purple cap.

Pediatric vaccines can be stored in a regular refrigerator for up to 10 weeks, whereas the 12-and-up vaccine has to be stored in an ultra-cold freezer.

Want to get your child vaccinated? WRAL is compiling a list of providers that will carry COVID vaccinations for young kids.

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