#childsafety | Health District Hosting Booster Clinics, Prepping For Kids COVID Vaccines


Election Day 2021 marked an important milestone for thousands of Connecticut residents who were way too young to vote.

On November 2, Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Manisha Juthani announced that COVID-19 vaccines are now available to be administered in Connecticut to children ages 5 through 11. The availability of the vaccines for this age group follows the recent recommendations of the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With this announcement, nearly all of Connecticut’s school-aged children are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This rollout is a critical tool to help keep children in school and protect not just children themselves, but also their parents, family members, teachers, and school staff. It is estimated that about 277,630 children between ages 5 and 11 live in Connecticut.

Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert joined state officials echoing the message that local children and families have multiple, convenient options for where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut, including:

*Pediatricians: Hundreds of pediatricians are administering COVID-19 vaccines in Connecticut. However, not all pediatricians have the vaccine. If a pediatrician does not offer the vaccine, refer to one of the additional options.

*Pharmacies: Hundreds of pharmacies are offering the COVID-19 vaccines to children, including many CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, and other pharmacy chains and independent pharmacies across Connecticut. Pharmacies provide a safe and convenient location to receive a vaccine. Pharmacies have provided special training for their pharmacist staff to provide vaccines for younger children.

*School-based clinics: The Connecticut Department of Public Health and Connecticut State Department of Education are collaborating to offer onsite clinics at schools across the state. These will be led either by school-based health centers or special mobile teams who are specifically trained to offer vaccines for younger children. Information about such clinics will be provided by individual schools or districts.

It was just announced that Griffin Health will begin offering free, walk-in pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5-11 starting Thursday, November 4. The Griffin Health Vaccination Centers in Shelton and Naugatuck will provide special hours for these pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations.

Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccinations will be offered in Shelton at 10 Progress Drive on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-7 pm, and at the adjacent Griffin Health Occupational Medicine Center (also at 10 Progress Drive in Shelton) on Saturdays from 9 am-noon. Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccinations will be offered in Naugatuck at 727 Rubber Avenue on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3-6 pm. No appointment necessary.

For more information on where children and adults can get COVID-19 vaccines in Connecticut, including a search tool to find the closest available locations, visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.

Everyone Has Access

“It is particularly significant that COVID-19 vaccines are available to children ages 5 to 11 because now nearly everyone will have access to this life-saving tool,” Lamont said. “Keeping students in school has been one of my biggest priorities, and having vaccines available for more kids is an important component of this effort. I have heard from all of my public health advisors, and they are clear in their guidance — this vaccine is safe for kids and it works. I’m asking all Connecticut residents to help us continue to be a national leader in vaccines and get your children vaccinated against COVID-19 at your earliest convenience.”

“The data is clear — the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 through 11,” Juthani said. “We have a fantastic network of providers — including pediatricians, pharmacies, school-based clinics, and local health departments — who are ready to administer this vaccine to children across Connecticut. I encourage parents and families to protect their children and themselves.”

Dr Jody Terranova, who serves on the executive board of the Connecticut chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is also the organization’s immunization representative, said, “For months, pediatric practices have been offering vaccines to children ages 12 and older, and it has been such a source of relief and safety for these kids and their families. I am delighted that the COVID-19 vaccine is now available for a much broader cohort of our children. Although kids often have milder cases of COVID-19 than adults, they still do get sick — and some children are currently battling long COVID as well. Getting this vaccine is the right thing to do to keep our kids and families safe.”

Culbert and her colleagues at the Newtown Health District are continuing to encourage residents to strike a balance as they enjoy the change in season: pursue fun and healthy activities and of course incorporate precautions when and if necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and any other virus.

“Precautions include staying home and away from others when sick, washing hands, wearing a mask in crowded places — or where required by proprietor — and getting vaccinated,” Culbert said. “Be mindful to protect vulnerable people in their lives.”

With COVID case numbers decreasing locally and across the state, and vaccinations rolling out for boosters and children, the local health official said there is plenty to be optimistic about.

“The Newtown Health District had its first booster clinic this past Saturday [October 30] at Reed School,” Culbert said. “Our focus was on seniors and we used the Newtown Senior Center e-mail blast and phone calling system to get the word out. We know that doesn’t reach every senior but it is a good start. We have another clinic scheduled for November 4, which is full, and there will be more scheduled.”

Start With Pediatrician

Regarding vaccinations for children 5 to 11 years old, Culbert said if parents or caregivers have not already received info and are interested, they are encouraged to contact their pediatrician for answers to questions and advice on getting their child(ren) vaccinated.

“We know that parents have a strong relationship with their pediatricians and we value and respect that relationship,” she said. “There will be several options for children to be vaccinated with this new rollout including pediatricians’ offices, pharmacies and clinics. The Newtown Health District will not be running its own children’s clinic but will be supporting vaccination efforts in our area.”

Boosters for adults are available at many locations.

“The Health District will be conducting limited clinics but we will not be able to vaccinate all residents that are eligible,” Culbert said. As such she is encouraging interested residents to look for and avail themselves to the many opportunities, including:

Pharmacies — Walgreens, CVS, Big Y, Stop & Shop in Newtown and nearby, Southbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Monroe, Danbury, and beyond.

The Griffin van, which will be at St Rose on November 12, as well as other locations. CLICK HERE for information.

Newtown Health District – CLICK HERE for details.

Pomperaug Health District/New Milford Health Department:

www.pddh.org/programs/covid-19-vaccination.php

Questions specifically for the Newtown Health District can be directed to 203-270-4291.

Regarding vaccinations for children 5 to 11 years old, Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert says if parents or caregivers have not already received information and are interested, they are encouraged to contact their pediatrician for answers to questions and advice on getting their child(ren) vaccinated.





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