RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Henrico Health District (RHHD) began offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Richmond Raceway on Thursday. This comes after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 earlier this week.
Only around 40 appointments were available for the first few days due to shipping logistics, according to health officials. The RHHD said it received about 5,100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids. They kept 1,800 doses and gave the rest to pediatricians and pharmacies.
Right now, appointments are limited with only around 40 spots available each day, but health officials said they expected more appointments to open up by Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Parker and Grey Eldridge, of Richmond, were the first two children to get their vaccines at the Raceway on Thursday.
"He hates needles," Grey said.
Their dad Jeremiah Eldridge said he wanted to make sure his kids got vaccinated as soon as possible.
"We’ve been waiting 18 months, and the second we could do it, I was on top of it," he explained. "When we signed up, there were around 40 appointments, and by the time I got one, 12 of them were gone, very quick."
Right now, children must have an appointment to get a shot, and they must be accompanied by a parent or adult.
Mary Lecky, 10, showed up with her mom Megan to get her vaccine on the first day and says it was a piece of cake.
"It’s sort of like if you have an older brother or sister, like they are pinching you, so it doesn’t hurt that much," Mary explained.
The St. Catherine’s student is looking forward to being fully vaccinated before the holiday season and getting back to some of the activities she loves most.
"Once I get fully vaccinated and my friends get vaccinated, I can have sleepovers, which I haven't had in a while," she said.
Megan Lecky encouraged parents on the fence about getting their children vaccinated to do their research and make the decision that's best for their family.
"Talk to your pediatrician, and that’s probably the best source of information for you and your child, but we are thrilled to be here and to be able to have her get the shot as quickly as possible," Lecky said.
Parents are encouraged to visit vax.rchd.com, call 804-205-3501, or check with their pharmacy or pediatrician to find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in their community.
Parents can also make an appointment here for their child to get a vaccine at the Rockwood Vaccination Center in Chesterfield.
If you are having trouble finding a spot available right now, don’t panic. The health district expects every child who wants to be vaccinated to get an appointment this month.
The last day for vaccinations at the Richmond Raceway will be Saturday, November 6, but the community vaccination center will reopen at Arthur Ashe Junior Athletic Center on Monday, November 8.