First children’s COVID-19 vaccines being administered in Polk County

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DES MOINES, IOWA — Wednesday the Polk County Department of Health received Pfizer vaccine doses to give to kids in the 5-11 age group. Thursday they started rolling them out in the drive-through clinic.

The department itself has 800 doses to give out and parents are lining their children up for them. On Thursday the entire schedule was full and next Tuesday is booked as well. The department distributes the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week.

The department is also in charge of allocating doses to different clinics and practices around the metro.

“Right now in Polk County we received 5,000 doses,” said Nola Aigner Davis the Public Health Communications Officer for the health department. “We are the largest county in the state and that has to go to a lot of our hospitals, health care partners and as well as our pharmacies.”

The drive-through is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday. You can book an appointment online at the Polk County Health Department website. Other clinics in Polk County started giving out shots today as well.

“We started today at all of our pediatric clinics and family medicine,” said Dr. Sara Schutte-Schenck, a pediatrician with MercyOne. “On Saturday we have a mass vaccine site out in Urbandale that will be giving pediatric doses and boosters in other age groups as well.”

Schutte-Schenck estimated that around 100 doses would be available at that clinic on Saturday. UnityPoint is about to start rolling out the doses as well. Parents have been calling to schedule their kids for appointments all week long and shots go into arms next week.

A pediatrician in the health clinic said parents have called about the vaccine and whether or not their kid should get it. He has been telling parents that there is no doubt in his mind that it is efficient.

“When we look at the safety of these vaccines the data looks great,” said Dr. Nathan Boonstra, a pediatrician at Blank Children’s Hospital. “It does show that these vaccines are very effective in this age group.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health said that they will be ordering doses biweekly for the 5-11 age group so children in the state can be vaccinated very soon.

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