LANSING, Mich. — Sparrow Hospital began distributing the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week.
Pfizer is the first vaccine to be approved for younger patients.
One of the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine was administered at Sparrow Hospital’s downtown vaccine clinic to Evan Yaney a 13-year-old from Grand Ledge. Yaney is a former patient of Sparrow Health and a current Sparrow Miracle Child who overcame leukemia.
He explained that he wanted to get vaccinated so that he could see his friends and visit with his grandfather.
“We’ve only really been able to call each other and I haven’t really been able to talk to him and see how he’s doing and stuff,” Yaney said.
He explained that the shot itself didn’t hurt very much and encouraged other kids his age to get vaccinated as well.
“If you’re feeling hesitant, please get it,” Yaney said. “I mean COVID has made a lot of things bad, so if you just want to make the world just one percent better please get the vaccine.”
So far, many residents have been eager to get their children vaccinated, according to Jon Baker who serves as administrative director of Sparrow Labs.
“[It’s been] tremendous, we had people waiting at the door this morning that have been watching the news and heard that we were going to be vaccinating the 12-15-year-olds,” Baker said.
Baker explained that a parent or guardian must accompany a child that wants to get vaccinated into the clinic and bring their ID.
“We will accept any form of identification for the child including the parent or guardian identifying them,” Baker said.
Sparrow also used the kickoff of vaccinations for adolescents 12-15 to try out their shot blockers which are designed to ease the pain of minor injections. The small plastic device has little, pointy spikes on one side that help distract children and those with anxiety about needles from the actual injection.
“We were looking for a way to make the vaccine experience less traumatic for some of the younger kids, most of them do okay but some of them come in with a great deal of trepidation and anxiety about vaccinations,” said Cindy Meteyer who works as a nurse practitioner in pediatric oncology for Sparrow Health.
Meteyer explained that the device works by stimulating a lot of nerves in the injection site area.
“So the child or the recipient of the vaccine cannot feel the poke,” she said. “We’ve used these several times this morning as we’re rolling it out for the younger kids.”
To make the vaccination experience a little better for children the Sparrow team also has lollipops available and Meteyer says they will offer stress balls in the coming days.
Public health and government officials in Michigan have been encouraging residents and their eligible children to get vaccinated. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to reopen the state is dependent on vaccination rates.
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