INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday, hundreds of families lined up inside The Children's Museum of Indianapolis to get their vaccine through a partnership with Riley Hospital for Children.
The free clinic offered vaccinations, boosters and flu shots. About 300 people received a COVID-19 vaccine or booster and 90 people received a flu vaccine.
"We wanted to help get through this pandemic and do whatever we can to help," said Kayla Eikenberry, who brought her young son to get his first dose.
Thursday was the first time the clinic offered Pfizer's booster shot to kids ages 12 to 15, after the CDC's approval earlier this week. The guidance now states anyone who received a Pfizer vaccine can get the third dose five months later.
"Through the data, the boosters help promote increased antibody levels and helps kick the immune system in the butt to remind itself how to protect itself against COVID," said Dr. Samina Bhumbra, director of infection prevention at Riley Hospital for Children.
It comes as cases jumped 98% in just one week, according to the CDC.
At the same time, doctors are seeing a spike in pediatric cases. Just this week, Riley Hospital for Children said about four times as many kids are being admitted than at any other point in the pandemic.
According to doctors, more than half of the patients admitted are ending up in the ICU, with 40% of those critical care patients ending up on ventilators.
"We are seeing just overall higher numbers at Riley, as well as proportionally in the ICU," Bhumbra said.
That's why doctors are reminding Hoosier families that the vaccine is still the best form of protection against severe illness and hospitalization.
"I know it's tough when you see something that's created so quickly. You always want to make sure that it's safe. I would say that just given the fact we were lucky enough to have such advanced technology to this point, we are able to have a vaccine that was originally developed back in the '90s," Bhumbra said.
By the end of this week, Indiana National Guard will deploy to Riley Hospital for Children to help fill staffing gaps.