Carle Health begins COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children ages 5-11


Cameron Krasucki

Ellie Guyette receives her first pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday morning. Carle Health has begun to rollout COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.

By Weiyu Ding, Lilli Bresnahan and Willie Cui

Carle Health held its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic for 5 to 11 year old children on Saturday after the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District announced last week that they are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“I was really looking forward to this day,” said Ellie Guyette, a 10-year-old who received the vaccine on Saturday. “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. I’m hoping that I’m going to feel like I don’t have to be stressed anymore when going into crowded places.”

Becca Guyette, Ellie’s mother, said her children know “there are always risks to things like this” and were not afraid to receive the vaccine.

“They were aware that this would be extremely beneficial to them and, more importantly, to our entire community,” she said. 

Guyette recognizes that some parents may be hesitant to have their children receive the vaccine and recommends they do research. 

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    “The research is pretty clear that this is safe for our children,” Guyette said. “Any risk is far outweighed by the benefits of this vaccine.”

    Brent Reifsteck, Pediatrician at Carle Foundation Hospital, said it is normal for parents to be hesitant over their children receiving the vaccine. 

    Reifsteck suggests that parents make sure they’re getting accurate information and talk to their trusted medical providers about the vaccine.

    Reifsteck also noted that the pediatric version of the vaccine has a dosage of 10 micrograms, which is a third of the dosage of the adult vaccine. This lower dosage was decided on “to minimize side effects and adverse reactions while still getting the same efficacy” after clinical trials studied the effects of different dosages. 

    Additionally, Kayla Banks, vice president of women’s and children’s services at Carle, said she is not concerned with pediatric vaccines disrupting the availability of booster shots and adult vaccines. 

    According to Banks, the pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine is “a different formulation from the Pfizer company” and comes in “a completely different vial that we receive in a completely different shipment.”

    “That’s sort of the nice thing compared to when we rolled out vaccines about a year ago with the adult doses,” Banks said. “The predictability of vaccine availability was still pretty tenuous.”

    Banks said that while there may be some minor side effects — she bought Tylenol in preparation for her daughter’s vaccination — she feels “very comfortable with getting my child vaccinated.”

    “Being a parent myself and kind of making that decision for myself and my family, I have full faith in the safety and the efficacy of the vaccine,” Banks said. 


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