Everyone made a few sacrifices Wednesday afternoon at Trent Elementary School to make the world safer against COVID-19.
Ava Yarnell was among the first.
As the second-grader settled into her mother’s lap and saw the needle, she began to whimper.
“This won’t hurt a lot,” said the volunteer, who backed up her words with a lollipop and the choice of Band-Aid when the deed was done.
Lincoln Slatter, 10, receives his COVID-19 vaccine shot from volunteer Kathy Morgan R.N at the first major in-school COVID vaccination clinic for kids aged 5-11, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at Trent Elementary School. The Washington Board of Health on Wednesday voted to not require the COVID-19 vaccination for schools and day cares. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The occasion was the area’s second major in-school COVID vaccination clinic for children ages 5 to 11.
It was organized by the Spokane Regional Health District, but made possible by nurses and volunteers from the East Valley School District.
Demand was heavy. When the event was posted last week, parents claimed every spot for their children “almost instantly,” said Amanda Faulkner, a paraeducator at Trentwood Elementary who helped with the event.
More slots were added, making Ava one of 190 children to get the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They also received flu vaccines.
“It’s one step toward getting back to something like normal,” Faulker said. “We don’t know when we’ll see that, but hopefully, this will help.”
As they waited in the school auditorium for their appointments, parents offered similar reasons for getting the vaccine.
“I want more protection for my children,” said Tomasa Rojas, who brought two children for their shots. “My kids have always been pretty healthy, and we want to stay safe and healthy.”
Ava’s mother, Chrissy Yarnell, said that “my whole family has been vaccinated except for her, and we’re just trying to do our part.”
“It’s kind of scary, but we want to really stop wearing masks, and we’re hoping that by getting vaccinated we won’t have to wear masks anymore,” she added.
The Trent clinic was the first of several scheduled at schools in Spokane County.
Others scheduled include the following: Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Cheney High School; Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Shadle Park High School; Monday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Northwood Middle School in Mead; and Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ferris High School.
Vaccines will be scheduled by online or phone appointment only. All students are eligible regardless of where they attend school.
Statewide, more than 60,000 kids ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. The state’s supply of pediatric vaccines has increased in the past week. The state has ordered half a million doses, including 50,000 additional doses to keep up with demand.
But demand is not equal across the state so far, Michele Roberts, assistant secretary at the Department of Health, told reporters Wednesday.
Early data indicates that demand differs by region, with more vaccinated parts of the state having higher demand for the pediatric vaccine than those regions that have lower vaccination rates.
“What concerns us with variation in vaccination rates is it leaves those communities even more unprotected,” Roberts said.
In the coming week, the Department of Health will add pediatric vaccine data to the statewide dashboard.
Pediatric vaccines are available in Spokane County at some providers as well as at vaccination clinics.
Children who begin their vaccine series this week will be fully vaccinated by the new year.
Individuals ages 5-17 years will need the consent of their parent/guardian before receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Parents and guardians can provide their consent during the registration process. Legal guardians do not need to be present for their child to receive the vaccine as long as there is documented consent.
If you need assistance with scheduling an appointment, call (800) 525-0127 and press the pound key (#) and let the operator know the date and location of the clinic.
Staff writer Arielle Dreher contributed to this report.
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