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Some families are spending Thanksgiving break getting their kids vaccinated against COVID-19

Young boy sits on a medical table inside a doctor's office while a nurse prepares his arm for a vaccination.
Stephanie Colombini
WUSF Public Media
Some kids got vaccinated against COVID-19 this week while they were off from school for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Parents say they want to protect their kids from the virus and prevent them from spreading it to someone else.

Some families are taking advantage of the Thanksgiving break to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19.

The federal government authorized using a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine to immunize kids ages 5-11 at the beginning of the month.

As of Florida's latest weekly COVID-19 report released last Friday, six percent of residents in that age group have gotten a first dose so far. That total will likely rise this week as more kids get their shots.

Premier Community HealthCare, a nonprofit health center that serves Pasco and Hernando counties, is hosting a vaccination event on Saturday in Dade City after holding one this past Monday at its pediatric health center in New Port Richey.

Inside the waiting room Monday, kids played with toys while they waited with their parents to get their shots.

Bobbie Mathis drove from Spring Hill to get three of her daughters vaccinated.

“I did my vaccine and everything went fine. The children have had COVID and I don't want to relive that,” she said.

Mathis said most of her family's cases were mild, but one child got really sick and had to go on oxygen for three days. She said she's relieved to know her kids have added protection from the virus now.

Alteva Algarin of Port Richey brought her ten-year-old son to get vaccinated. She said in addition to protecting him from the virus, she wants to prevent him from spreading it to someone else.

Algarin lost her mother to COVID-19 in August.

“After my mom passed away, I've been really, really adamant about the vaccine,” she said. “I think it's very important that people get this vaccine. You see people are dying every day and it's crazy, and if you can save yourself, why not?”

Algarin advises parents still unsure about whether to get their kids vaccinated to be wary of misinformation on social media.

Parents at the health center said it helped to have a vaccination event while their kids were off from school.

The Pfizer vaccination clinic this Saturday is located at Premier Community HealthCare’s Dade City Family Health Center at 14027 5th St.

The clinic takes place from 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. The center asks that parents make an appointment ahead of time.

You can find more places to get a COVID-19 vaccine by checking out our county-by-county guide.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.
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