Local Suppliers Start Administering COVID-19 Vaccines to Children | Chicago News

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Young children are excited to look like their older siblings. A way to finally remove masks in schools, hug grandparents without fear and otherwise return to normal, albeit a new normal.

With the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that children as young as 5 years old be eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Jenni Kusma of Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago said it had been a good week for be a pediatrician.

“We’ve had 18 months to figure out how to live with this new virus, and I just think it’s really going to help us take the next step,” she said. “The shot is safe. It has been really well studied. It has been reviewed by a lot of people. I have confidence in the safety of this vaccine.

According to the state’s public health department, as of noon Monday, approximately 15,150 pediatric doses have so far been given to children in Illinois between the ages of 5 and 11.

Lurie’s clinic opened to young people on Friday and over the weekend administered 1,172 doses to the newly eligible group.

Studies of pediatric vaccinations took place over the summer when the delta variant surged and the vaccine was still effective, Kusma said.

Young children receive a lower dose than vaccines approved for people 12 years of age and older.

“What’s interesting and exciting is that this dose is smaller, but the immune response or this antibody response is actually very similar to that of adolescents or adults who received the highest dose of the vaccine. So smaller dose, but we’re seeing the same immune response, ”she said.

UI Health began immunizing children on Monday.

UI Health’s Center for Children and Youth’s medical director, Dr. Jalene Shoener, says her own child gets vaccinated, and she strongly encourages others to do so as well.

“It’s difficult to know which children will be severely affected and we are seeing children who need a lot of breathing and heart support, the kinds of complications that come with COVID. Many people of all ages are fine after getting the infection, but it’s so hard for us to know who will and who won’t. And we are seeing infected children in our hospital as we speak, ”Shoener said.

Some parents are not ready.

Willie Preston is the father of six, aged 5 to 16, and has said he takes the coronavirus seriously.

They all wear masks, her family does not attend major events, and they put up signs to remind children to wash their hands frequently. Still, it is uncomfortable for them to be vaccinated.

“My wife and I are currently not in a place where we feel comfortable having our children immunized. Certainly not our 5 year old, ”he said. “Looks like it’s rushed. We don’t know enough about it.

Parents like Preston are the ones Chicago public school administrators may have had in mind when the district announced late last week that they were canceling classes on Friday for a “vaccine awareness” day.

The district billed that this was an opportunity for the most recently eligible to receive the vaccine as soon as possible and before the holidays.

But for Preston, it’s frustrating.

“I think in a situation like this, the CPS should have allowed parents who were willing to go and take their kids for the shot to have the day to go without penalty for the kids, of course. And for those of us who currently choose not to have our kids immunized, we shouldn’t be penalized and kids should be able to go to school where we pay taxes to send them, ”Preston said.

He said it was obvious to him that CPS management, including new CEO Pedro Martinez, had not consulted with working families like his, or Preston said he guaranteed that CPS would not. not put families in the situation he is in now.

“Child care is a basic need for parents who are working class parents like my wife and myself,” Preston said. “Very short notice of children having a non-school day that we had no 100% knowledge of created a childcare problem for my home and for my wife and me. So at this point we’re probably going to stick with names in the bag, shake it up and pull that goes that day.

Working parents who wish to take advantage of the day to have their child vaccinated may not be able to do so, as a parent or guardian must be present when minors receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Friday’s sudden Vaccine Awareness Day Without School comes the day after the kids are also out of school on Thursday, for Veterans Day, an official school and a long-planned federal holiday, which has brought in criticism to suspect that the real motivation of the CPS was a lack of sufficient substitute teachers.

CPS Monday afternoon did not respond to this claim.

Founder and CEO of professional childcare and childcare service Babe Maven, Brittany Gabby, said she started getting frantic calls from parents last Thursday after the CPS email went out and reports aired on this week’s extra day off school.

Her company has partnered with Third Coast Birth & Baby of Logan Square to host small-group session sessions, with seating for 16 children on Thursdays and Fridays. Places are filling up but she says some are still available; parents should contact by e-mail.

“It’s as easy as getting your child’s contact information. We wear masks, all of our sitter mavens wear masks. Lunch and a snack are provided so we will try to fill the void for that support during these two days, ”Gabby said.

Friday’s childcare problem may be more sudden than usual, but it’s an indicator of a larger problem with families struggling to juggle childcare with lows and pandemic shifts, including return to work and students entering and leaving classrooms due to being quarantined.

“What I’m seeing is that parents are eager to get confirmation of care as soon as possible, and they are looking to have someone who is committed for the long term as well. I see a huge desire for parents to have someone who is willing to be fully and engaged for at least two years… because it has been a roller coaster for the past two years, ”she said. “And then you have some who say, ‘I don’t even have the financial capacity to cover the on-call time that I need. And then you have availability, in terms of accessibility, for people who live in neighborhoods or places where there may be no quality child care, if at all.

Babe Maven is responding to requests from sitters, or mavens, who want to care only for families who have been vaccinated, and families who want to ensure their sitter has received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Along with the high demand for help with childcare, Gabby said she has noticed an increase in the number of caregivers who understand their value.

“You have a mix of people, parental preferences, maybe you want someone who is vaccinated. And then you have caregivers saying, “Hey, I’m not comfortable getting the vaccine right now.” And then you also have caregivers who say, “Hey, I just want to work with families who are vaccinated,” Gabby said. “And now this is the caveat, that now our caregivers are having, speaking and using their voices, and not just allowing the industry to… When it lines up it’s beautiful.” The struggle succeeds.

Chicago libraries and parks will be open Thursday and Friday when schools close, and according to CPS, libraries will have “computer access, take-out kits, vaccine information and promotion of library cards.”

Not all pediatric care providers may be ready to administer the vaccine on Friday. Additional training is needed and, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, providers who have requested fewer than 300 doses are still waiting to be treated by the CDC.

But Chicago providers who have opened up immunizations to children ages 5 to 11, including UI Health and Lurie Children’s, are expanding availability on Friday to take advantage of the day without school.

Families and children do not need to be patient at Lurie or UIHealth to be vaccinated in hospital clinics, but appointments must first be made online.

On Fridays there will be extended slots and Lurie’s offers extended hours, opening at 9 a.m. rather than the standard afternoon start time.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky


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