For teens who were vaccinated as soon as shots became available to them, it’s now time for their second dose.
Within the Lee Health system, a total of 595 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 have been vaccinated with with the first or second dose; not a huge number, but they expect to see that number grow as summer begins.
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, children currently make up 22% of all COVID-19 cases in the country, and the number of cases in kids is not dropping at the same rate as we are seeing in adults. Experts say it’s because more adults are getting vaccinated, and kids are in school where it can easily be spread. They worry that if more kids do not get vaccinated, it could lead to more variants forming.
Niki Shimko, the pediatric registered nurse running the vaccine clinic at Golisano Children’s Hospital, says they are doing what they can to get more shots in kids’ arms.
“There are flyers being made right now that we will start advertising for, and we also, in the clinic, are using the [painless?] spray, which is the spray that kind of numbs the area,” Shimko said. “It takes a little bit of the pain away and the fear and anxiety away. But there is lots of information coming out from Lee Health on that.”
In the classroom, not all kids will be vaccinated and most will not be wearing masks, but the vaccine still gives kids a better chance of not getting or spreading the virus.
One 15-year-old getting her second dose Thursday said she’s getting it just to be on the safe side.
“I’m still gonna keep wearing my mask at school,” said Ellie Applegren. “And I know there are a bunch of people in my school whose parents won’t let them get the vaccine. And… it’s gonna be, I think, based on what people feel comfortable with personally, come the fall.”
If you want your children fully vaccinated and prepared for school in the fall, you will want to get them the second dose two weeks before the the start of school, which would be by July 27 in Lee County. Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital are offering vaccines for kids age 12 and up.