Prisma Health Children’s Hospital ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids

Local News

FILE – This October 2021, photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. (Pfizer via AP, File)

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) — Prisma Health Children’s Hospital will begin offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to children between five and 11-years-old.

The hospital system will begin the rollout starting on Thursday. The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the green light for younger children.

“This is just an exciting day for us. One day that we as pediatricians have been waiting for, for a long time. We at Children’s Hospitals have never been so busy in South Carolina, as we have been over the recent weeks,” said Dr. Caughman Taylor, Senior Medical Director of Children’s Hospital in the Midlands, Prisma Health.

“In South Carolina close to 500 to 600 kids or more hospitalized with COVID recently, and if I’m right, only one of those children have been vaccinated,” Taylor said. “So, almost all the hundreds of the children that have been in our in Children’s Hospitals have been unvaccinated, and so it’s had a big toll. So, we want to encourage our parents out there, this is a big day for kids under 12 to get the vaccine.”

Amanda McDougald-Scott said she’s happy her child can finally get vaccinated.

“It’s approved, and we’re going to get it. That was my immediate reaction. Just when can we get it,” McDougald-Scott said. “I’m very very excited. I already made plans to take Polk first thing, and as long as it takes to get it tomorrow, we’re going to stand there,” she said. “The fact that now, my son, who is high risk for getting sick, like extremely sick from COVID, now I know he’ll have an extra layer of protection from COVID.”

Prisma Health doctors said there are 28 million kids in the country in the five to 11 age range, and they can now get the vaccine.

“Myself and so many parents have all been waiting for this vaccine to arrive. We know that 28 million children are in this age group in the country and our ability to protect them is going to be key again to making sure that as we head into the holidays, that we have as many people vaccinated as we can,” said Dr. Robin LaCroix, Senior Medical Director of Children’s Hospital in the Upstate at Prisma Health.   

Prisma Health will begin providing the vaccine for the new age group on Thursday at its vaccination clinic in Greenville, along with pediatric and family practices.

“In the Upstate, we too will have our vaccine clinic site, where the standard 12 and above vaccine has been delivered. We will be offering this for younger children as well. The pediatric practices that are a part of Prisma Health Pediatric will be also beginning to offer these, again beginning tomorrow afternoon on in to Friday. There will be on Saturday, November 13th, a large scale event, an all day Saturday event, to allow those families that are not able to get to the standard vaccine sites or to the practices during standard hours, to be able to come and get their children vaccinated. All of these things will be rolling for consecutive Saturdays, so that we’re sure that the 21 day vaccine, it is a two dose series, just like the adults receive the first dose and then 21 days later the second dose,” LaCroix said.

Prisma Health’s Vaccination Site in Greenville, is located at 6 Doctors Drive (Upper Level, Cross Creek Medical Park).

“We are excited that children now have this availability. The vaccine has been proven to be very efficacious in this age group. As Doctor Taylor mentioned, it is a lower, than the dose that the adults are given. It is scaled particularly for children in the sense of how we administer it, the size of the needles that we use. It’s a smaller volume,” LaCroix said.

Doctors said clinical trials have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective for this age group.

“The trials were done in this age group. Many people may say, why did it take so long, it’s because they took the extra time and rolled the extra number of patients to show it’s safety and it’s effectiveness. 91% protection, even with Delta,” LaCroix said.

Nancy Lee, a grandparent said she’s not convinced.

“I don’t agree with children getting the vaccine yet. I think we need more studies. Let’s see what the long-term effects are in adults,” Lee said. “I’m not against vaccines, just not right now, not yet in kids.”

Doctors said the timing couldn’t be better to get kids vaccinated.

“So we want to encourage our parents out there, this is a big day for kids under 12 to get the vaccine,” Taylor said. “With the flu season coming, it is just so important that we take all of the precautions we can to get kids protected from this virus.”

However, Lee plans to wait.

“We’re going to wait because they’re healthy and doing well. I think if I had a grandchild that had cancer or maybe severe asthma, I might say yes,” Lee said.

“Every child who gets the vaccination, it’s not only just important for their health, but also for the health of children like Polk. It just adds protections just like every vaccination that’s available,” McDougald-Scott said.

Prisma Health officials said families can also get vaccinated at many of their physician offices through MyChart.

The vaccine requires parental consent at all locations. Prisma Health doctors said at their practices, people must schedule an appointment. For large vaccine sites and events, an appointment is not needed, but encouraged.

Prisma Health will be offering the vaccine at it’s vaccination site Wednesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We plan on offering Saturday clinics starting Nov. 13th. We also may add other dates as needed. No appointment or order is needed at this site. Pediatric and family medicine practices are beginning to offer the vaccine for this age group. Vaccine availability at family medicine practices may be limited initially. Scheduling an appointment is recommended at physician offices, preferably through MyChart. Our free hotline, 1-833-2PRISMA, is also available from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. weekdays to help make an appointment,” Hospital officials said.  

AnMed Health officials also said they will be offering the vaccine for younger children.

“AnMed Health offers the pediatric COVID vaccine for ages 5 to 11 in its vaccine clinic in the Healthy Futures Room located at the North Campus. AnMed Health practices are not offering the pediatric vaccine at this time. The vaccine clinic hours are Thursday and Friday from 2 to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are required for the pediatric COVID vaccine. Appointments should be scheduled through MyChart or by calling 864.512.2897,” a release said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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