Tanana Valley Clinic wraps on successful child vaccination clinics
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Tanana Valley Clinic recently completed a successful series of child COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Fairbanks community members.
Once the approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination was approved for children between the ages 5 to 11, healthcare providers like Tanana Valley Clinic rose to the challenge to vaccinate as many children as possible.
According to Doctor Mishelle Nace, Pediatric Medical Director for the Tanana Valley Clinic, the clinic saw a large influx of patients seeking vaccination at the beginning.
I think with the 5 to 11 year olds, we saw the same thing when we did when the adults first came out and when the teenagers first came out,” Dr. Nace explained. “You see a big hump of patients that all want to come in and want it now, and we see a little bit of a trickling off, and then people slowly coming in. So I think those first two weekends right after the release of the vaccine approval we saw quite a few with a lot of different areas around town that were doing clinics, and now we just have a smaller trickle-in of patients.”
Tanana Valley Clinic strove to make the process of getting vaccinated memorable and fun for those attending, so they came up with a few fun ideas.
“We reached out to families, but at the actual event we tried to make it a fun experience for kids,” Dr. Nace elaborated. “We had different celebrations - they could have ice cream when they were done, there were stickers, there were frisbees. We had stormtroopers arrive, we had dogs throughout the day that were able to help comfort the kids throughout the day. When they left they knew that they were coming back in another three weeks and we wanted them to have a reason to come back. So, many kids commented that this was a wonderful day and when we told them we’ll see them in three weeks, they were excited about coming back.”
While younger kids may not get as ill from COVID-19, according to Dr. Nace, vaccinating them is important to stop the spread of the virus.
“The reason why even the younger kids are benefiting from vaccination is that they’re part of our community too,” she remarked, “and they’re helping decrease the amount of spread. So though it’s absolutely true that kids don’t tend to get as sick as maybe older adults or adults who have immune difficulties, they are still part of our community. Our primary goal is keeping kids in school and any illness will keep a kid out of school, and when it spreads to other kids it keeps those kids out of school. So we want those kids in in-person learning and we want them to be able to be there. So by vaccinating them, they’re also protecting their right to go to school as well as those around them.”
For those parents with hesitations or questions regarding vaccinations, Dr. Nace recommends speaking with a trusted healthcare provider.
“Parents have questions about what the vaccine is,” she continued, ”and any concerns they might have, that’s the ideal time to reach out to their primary care provider, whether it be a pediatrician or family medicine doctor. They should reach out specifically about their child or any kind of health concerns they have with that child so that those can be reviewed with their provider to make sure that the vaccine is right for them.”
More information on where to receive vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 can be found at covidvax.alaska.gov.
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