INDIANAPOLIS — Now that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available to kids age 5-11, health care professionals at Riley Hospital for Children are lining up their kids for pokes.
They sat next to their kids Saturday as they got their first dose of the vaccine. "Nothing is more important than my kid's health," said Gil Peri, president of Riley Children's Health. "Anything I can do to help them not go to the hospital, I'm going to do that."
In some ways, the pandemic has been just as hard on the children as it has been on their parents.
"My 7-year-old is so excited because he's so social and wants to see his friends. He would love to go to school without a mask. He is ready," said Sarah Bosslet, a pediatrician and the director of primary care at Riley Hospital for Children.
Peri said vaccinating his kids was an easy decision.
"The only way to end the pandemic is herd immunity. We want to do our part to end the pandemic," said Peri.
The kids who received the vaccine said the quick poke was worth the freedom they hope to experience in the future.
"It felt exciting. It felt like a stick poked me, but it wasn't that bad," said JaKobe Lloyd.
Darion Lloyd said he is excited to be mask-free in the future.
"I didn't want to wear this mask. Plus, I get to play with my friends without a mask on," said Darion.
Riley has several options parents can use to sign up their kids for the vaccine, including opening walk-in clinics or simply calling their pediatrician.
Doctors hope parents take advantage of the options and schedule an appointment for their child. "This vaccine is so impressive. It works so well, with so few side effects. I'm extremely excited about this vaccine and its ability to protect us," said Bosslet.
If your child is worried about getting the shot, JaKobe and Darion said they shouldn't be. "It's just a shot. It won't hurt. It will just be a little poke," said JaKobe.
"You got this. Just have your mom or dad by your side. Everything will be okay if you just keep your arms still," said Darion.
IU Health Primary Care & Riley Children’s Health patients can call the number below, or their pediatrician’s office, to schedule their child’s COVID-19 vaccines.
- Call 1-888-IUHEALTH (1-888-484-3258)
Vaccination clinics can also be found online at ourshot.in.gov.