WHEELING – With the COVID-19 vaccine available to children since last Friday, the first full week of giving the injection to children is slowly being rolled out.
By the end of the day Wednesday, Howard Gamble, administrator of the Wheeling-Ohio County health department, said the county had administered 350 injections, most of them on the first day. In Marshall County, Threat Preparedness Director Mark Ackermann said the numbers were even lower, at just 50.
“The biggest turnout was Friday (Nov. 5), by far,” Gamble said Wednesday. “It was the first day we had an evening clinic, so we had a bigger turnout. Since then, our clinic has been more of a day clinic, 9-4, and the number of people coming in has dropped significantly.”
That said, Gamble hopes the county’s evening clinics will have greater appeal. One was held Wednesday at Bridge Street Elementary and another Friday at Madison Elementary on Wheeling Island. A clinic will be held on Tuesday at Warwood Elementary, with help from nearby Kroger.
Speaking at Friday’s clinic in Madison, Gamble said he was pleased with the overall turnout to receive the shot — about half an hour later, more adults and children had come to get vaccinated — but he still wished he’d had a bigger one. saw a jump in the number of young children getting vaccinated.
Both men noted that their numbers accounted only for the doses provided by their health departments — Kroger in Warwood and Walgreens in Moundsville also administer the injection. Gamble added that many pharmacies do not distribute the pediatric version of the vaccine.
Ackermann said he hopes the tide will turn soon as more parents bring their children in to be vaccinated when they see the lack of side effects.
“We hope that more and more children will make it. We think a lot of people are hesitant and waiting to see how other kids who have received it have done it. The reports we got were very minimal or no side effects,” he said.
On the bright side, Gamble said many parents are taking the opportunity to get their own booster shots while their kids are getting their first dose.
“Kids come in, get vaccinated, start their series, and we also have parents come in and finish their series,” Gamble said.