It was an exciting and historic early morning in Farmington on Nov. 4 for newly eligible children ages 5-11 successfully receiving their first pediatric dose of the just approved COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.
Starting at 7:00 a.m. the UConn Health COVID-19 Vaccine Program kicked off this pediatric group’s vaccinations with 50 children ages 5-11 scheduled to be vaccinated. Plus, 50 more set to be vaccinated on Friday, and 100 more on Saturday at another pediatric-only vaccine clinic.
For appointments patients 12 and under need to call the UConn Health COVID-19 scheduling line at 860-679-5589. No walk-ins are accepted for these minors.
“It’s so exciting,” shared Joanne Boucher, RN, Director of Ambulatory Operations at UConn Health. “These children are excited to be on the top of the list today.”
Some of the first children to receive their vaccinations on Nov. 4 were siblings Theodore Sager, 7, and Felicity Sager, 5, of Hartford who were cheered on by their proud father Christian.
“Good job that was a piece of cake. You did it! You did it! You’ve waited so long.,” cheered Sager. “We’re very excited and looking forward to a return to normal.”
“We have been very careful for over a year and a half and now can be less worried. My job as a parent is to make sure they are safe. Today is the beginning. Today is a major step toward being safe,” shared a relieved Sager. His family will return the day after Thanksgiving for the second required pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Children were happy and comforted to receive stickers from the UConn Health vaccine clinic staff after their vaccination.
On day one UConn Health doctors also brought their children for vaccination as well.
“They’re troopers,” proudly shared Dr. Angela Hart about her daughters Olivia, 7, and Abigail, 5. For the last seven years Hart has practiced internal medicine at UConn Health following completion of her UConn residency training. “I am so proud of them and they are showing other kids to also be brave and safe. They have sacrificed so much for their own safety and their family’s safety.”
Hart added: “As parents if we set examples for our kids they will feel safe and supported. As a physician I can now tell my patients my kids got the vaccine too, my family got it, and I have done it.”
“I feel really good,” added Olivia after her vaccine shot.
Nicholas Mortensen, 10, of Simsbury was also one of the first children to be vaccinated. His Dad Dr. Eric Mortensen is chief of general internal medicine at UConn Health.
“I have been waiting to be vaccinated since my Mom and Dad got the vaccine,” shared Mortensen. “I want to have a lower chance of catching the virus and a lower chance of symptoms.”
Mom Christine Mortensen couldn’t stop smiling on the long-awaited vaccination day for Nicholas.
“I am so glad,” shared Mortensen. “Nicholas couldn’t sleep last night. He’s has been asking when he can get vaccinated so he can have Thanksgiving with his Grandma and Grandpa. We are relieved now that he’s going to be protected. We are so grateful and a little less worried now.”
Other local children and their parents are also feeling relieved post-vaccination.
Rishaan Sisodia, 8, of Farmington is now looking forward to finally and safely going to Disney World this summer to celebrate his birthday.
“I felt nervous but it didn’t really hurt,” said Sisodia. “It wasn’t so bad.”
His father Samrat Sisodia exclaimed: “It’s an exciting day. We are all vaccinated today. I recommend to other parents to get it done. It’s safe.”
Post-vaccination Benjamin Zeisler, 9, of West Hartford reports: “It’s like a flu shot!”
And his Dad knows what’s coming next.
“He’s going to go to school and tell everybody,” stressed Jonathan Zeisler.
Cayla Covia, 10, also of West Hartford was vaccinated successfully with her first dose too. Mom Courtney Covia couldn’t be happier.
“We are on the road to being a fully vaccinated family,” Covia excitedly shared.
UConn Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program’s message to other parents and children:
“Please come get vaccinated. Every shot makes a difference. We really want to change the trajectory of the pandemic and help protect our community,” says Boucher of UConn Health.
When talking to your young children about the COVID-19 vaccine Boucher recommends: “Keep it simple. Share with your children that it’s a medicine that will help keep you safe.”
Boucher also shared if any local school would like to arrange for a pediatric clinic at UConn Health the institution is here to help keep their students safe.
“We are available to help if schools want their kids to come here,” says Boucher.
In fact, UConn Health has already partnered with the West Hartford/Bloomfield Health District to have pediatric aged patients 5-11 come to the UConn Health Outpatient Pavilion for vaccination on two days with their parent or guardian. These days are Friday, Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also, they are working with the Tolland school system to visit one of its elementary schools on Nov. 15 to meet the Health District’s vaccination needs for it 5-11 year olds with their parent/guardian.
For the latest vaccine information visit the UConn Health COVID-19 Vaccine Program website.