HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Days after the COVID-19 vaccines receiving federal approval for those under five-years-old, the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts said they vaccinated 60 children Wednesday during their first clinic offering the vaccine to that age group.
"We had 40 appointments scheduled and then we're able to accommodate 20 walk-ins. We did turn away about seven to 10 people who we couldn't accommodate," said RHHD spokesperson Cat Long. "But we got them scheduled for an appointment coming up in the next couple of weeks or so. So we're able to serve a lot of folks."
Long said they were expecting a rush of initial interest, but added the setup for vaccinated these younger children takes a little bit more time and resources than the vaccination efforts of older age groups.
"We want to make sure that kids have private rooms so they can be really comfortable. We want to make sure that we have enough time built out in those appointments to really interact with the kids and make sure that they feel good and comfortable before getting their vaccine," said Long. She added because of the longer times and limited spots she encouraged parents to make appointments for clinics this week rather than relying on walk-ups. "So, they can do that on the VASE+ website, they can go to vax.rchd.com to do that, or they could give us a call at our contact center at 804-205-3501."
Long said while Wednesday's clinic only had the two-dose Moderna vaccine, RHHD had received a shipment of the three-dose Pfizer vaccine and both would be options in future events.
"We recommend either. Both are really effective and are safe and will offer really great protection to your child," said Long. "Some parents might choose one or the other for various reasons. But, we recommend either and it's always a good idea to get whichever vaccine you can get first, because that, of course, will give you protection the soonest."
Long added while they expect a slow down in demand, previous
"What we've seen for other age groups is that the longer that the vaccines have been approved and available, the more that people hear about vaccines from their doctors, the more that they learn that their friends and families and neighbors have gotten vaccines, the more they've had time to simmer on it," said Long. "A lot of folks come around who might have been on the fence or who thought they didn't want to get a vaccine ultimately end up coming around and choosing to get COVID-19 vaccination."
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from May found about 18% of parents intended to vaccinate their kids immediately, 27% said "definitely not", while 38% wanted to wait and see how it worked in others.
For more information on upcoming RHHD vaccinations opportunities click here.
Virginians are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Go to Vaccine Finderto search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).