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Ingham County Health Department hosts first vaccine clinic for children

Posted at 6:20 PM, Nov 04, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — The Ingham County Health Department hosted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children between the ages of five and 11 on Thursday, just two days after the CDC approved the COVID-19 vaccine for that age group.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said the excitement among parents at the clinic was palpable.

"I've seen parents crying tears of joy over their kids being vaccinated," Vail said, adding that she even received thank you cards from some relieved parents.

Jeff Gauthier is one parent who chose to take his five-year-old son Grey to get the vaccine Thursday.

"We want to do anything that it takes to protect them in school with his friends, and protect our family," Gauthier said. "So we think it's really important as a community to take the measures to try to beat the virus and get back to normal."

Gauther's son Grey, who was one of many kids to bring a stuffed animal with them to the clinic to ease some anxiety, said he was not scared to get the jab.

The Ingham County Health Department announced the clinic on Wednesday, and within 20 minutes the 99 appointments were filled.

Vail said that vaccinating children of this age could be a big "game changer," especially in schools.

Ryan Irvin took his daughter Amelia to receive the vaccine. He said this is a step toward his daughter and her classmates being safer in school.

“The pandemic’s been really awful in a whole bunch of ways," Irvin said. "It feels like getting kids vaccinated is one way to help do our part to keep our family safe.”

Amelia said getting the vaccine was "a little scary" but much easier than she thought it would be.

Vail said vaccinating kids is important not only for the kids' safety but for the safety of the community at large.

"There's been a lot of angst about why we're worried about masks in schools for kids and why we should be vaccinating kids because they're very low risk for serious illnesses," she said. "But they're part of the transmission in the community, and they always have the potential to put vulnerable family members and vulnerable community members at risk."

While vaccine appointments for children are filled for Friday, the Ingham County Health Department has a number of clinics tentatively planned for next week.

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