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Health District Promoting Kids COVID Vax Sessions



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While the Newtown Health District is not planning to host any COVID-19 vaccination clinics for the youngest candidates who just became qualified to receive a protective jab, Director Donna Culbert is promoting clinics including one June 30 at Newtown High School.

She is also suggesting her staff advise parents and caregivers to consider consultations with their pediatricians.

Between June 18 and 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and voted to recommend children 6 months through 5 years of age to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Parents and caregivers can now get children in this age range vaccinated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Even for children who have had COVID-19, vaccination is recommended, according to the Connecticut Dept of Public Health (DPH).

According to Public Health Commissioner Dr Manisha Juthani, although most children have only mild symptoms when infected, COVID-19 can cause some children to become very sick, even to the point of requiring hospitalization, a DPH release stated.

As mentioned in the recent ACIP meeting, Juthani said COVID-19 is the leading cause of infectious disease-related death in people up to 19 years old, but data shows that those deaths can be prevented through vaccine.

Additionally, ensuring high rates of vaccine coverage among all children has many benefits, she added.

“Vaccinated children are not required to quarantine if exposed to the virus,” said Juthani. “High rates of vaccination also can help to reduce transmission of COVID-19 cases, and vaccinating children provides another layer of protection for other family members and the broader community.”

Where To Go

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old is another major step forward in the overall COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, Juthani said, and parents will have many options for where to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their children including:

Pediatricians’ offices: Hundreds of pediatricians will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across Connecticut. However, not all pediatricians will have the COVID-19 vaccine, so if your child’s provider doesn’t offer the COVID-19 vaccine, please refer to one of the other options provided.

Pharmacies: There will be hundreds of pharmacy locations that are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children. Pharmacies provide a safe, convenient, and easy location to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, pharmacies have provided special trainings for their pharmacist staff to administer vaccines for younger children.

Other Locations: In addition to the above, several health systems and local health departments will be offering COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5.

DPH Yellow Van Clinics: DPH organizes mobile, COVID-19 vaccine clinics through its Yellow Vans program. The updated clinic schedule can be found by visiting ct.gov/coronavirus

Residents also are encouraged to visit vaccines.gov to find a convenient location for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We want to remind parents of how pediatricians have provided trusted and proven advice over the years for their children, and that they should feel very confident and comfortable following their pediatrician’s guidance on this vaccine as well,” said Juthani.

Over the past two weeks, Juthani said the DPH has seen a stabilization in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and case rates.

“Now is the time to make sure that our youngest residents receive the same protection from severe COVID-19 disease as our school-aged youth and adults have had available to them for over a year,” Juthani said, “We also want to stress that there is no shortage of vaccines available for people of all ages and that anyone who has not been vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The virus that causes COVID-19 is moving its way across the country and there is a very high likelihood that we will see another significant uptick later this year.”

The Connecticut Department of Public Health emphasizes that all the tools are in place — including vaccines and second boosters, Test to Treat locations, therapeutics, self-tests and state-supported testing — to help curb the severity of this illness.

NHD Advisory

Culbert at the Newtown Health District notified The Newtown Bee June 21 that “we are getting a few calls from parents.”

While she said the Health District team will not be vaccinating children, she is directing her staff that if a parent or caregiver calls regarding COVID vaccinations for children, they should advise callers to “check with their pediatrician.”

“They may have already done that and learned their Ped isn’t doing it,” Culbert acknowledged, although “I have looked at the DPH/Griffin van clinic list [and] they are vaccinating children, and some clinics have opened up to the youngest age group.”

Some of the clinics closest to Newtown are: Saturday, June 25, at St Vincent’s Food Service in Waterbury from 10 am to 2 pm; and Saturday, June 25, at Fulton Park in Waterbury from noon to 4 pm. An additional clinic is scheduled for Thursday, June 30, at Newtown High School at 12 Berkshire Road from 3 to 7 pm.

These clinics are for all ages, including offering first and second initial doses for teens and adults. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available for anyone who qualifies at the Newtown clinic.

For up-to-date information, Culbert said the webpages below will be updated regularly:

DPH/Griffin van — portal.ct.gov/vaccine-portal/DPH-van-clinics?language=en_US

And the federal vaccine page — vaccines.gov/search/

That website is showing vaccines being available by appointment at Newtown’s CVS, Walgreen’s and Stop & Shop pharmacies, as well as at the Big Y pharmacy in Stony Hill/Bethel.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association were among physician groups that encouraged doctors and families to get young children vaccinated.

The CDC advises vaccination even for those who already had COVID-19 to protect against reinfection, and says it is OK to get other vaccines at the same time. For the littlest kids, there’s Pfizer’s three-shot series or Moderna’s two shots.

—AP Photo
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