By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
As vaccine eligibility continues to expand, groups are trying to make it more accessible too. Children’s Wisconsin recently announced its vaccine clinics for children 12 and older.
“The FDA approved the COVID-19 vaccine, the Pfizer one, for anyone age 12 and older,” Dr. Brilliant Nimmer, a Children’s Wisconsin pediatrician, said during a press conference on Friday, May 21.
Starting Monday, May 24, Children’s Wisconsin opened vaccine clinics at nine of its locations in Southeastern Wisconsin.
“We recommend that [the vaccine] for all of our patients that are 12 and older, and we encourage parents to sign up to get the vaccine,” Nimmer said.
The vaccine clinics include the following: Kenosha Pediatrics, 6809 112nd Ave., North Shore Pediatrics, 1655 W. Mequon Rd., Midtown Clinic, 5433 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Milwaukee Hospital Campus, 8915 W. Connell Ct., and Southwest Pediatrics Clinic, 4855 S. Moorland Rd.
Children’s Wisconsin will also be offering Saturday vaccine clinics from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on various dates. Bluemound Pediatrics, 12635 W. Bluemound Rd., will be open on Saturday, June 5. Greenfield Clinic, 3365 S. 103rd St., and Lakeside Pediatrics, 8600 75th St., will both be open on Saturday, June 12.
“These vaccines are important,” Nimmer said. “They’re important for kids so that kids are protected, but also so their families are protected, and the community is protected. We want to make vaccines equitable for everybody.”
With that in mind, it was important to Children’s Wisconsin that the vaccine be available in multiple locations, she said. Appointments are required, but children do not need to be patients of Children’s Wisconsin to sign up. Nimmer said that the health organization is encouraging parents and guardians to get vaccinated alongside their children if they haven’t already.
Nimmer noted that the biggest concern among parents and guardians is side effects.
“Even though there are side effects, it is very effective, and we still think it’s safe and needed for children,” she said. “The most common side effect is a sore arm.”
Patients may notice that their arm feels sore or that it is red at the injection site. This is common, Nimmer said. Other common side effects include fatigue, fever, nausea and a headache. Symptoms should last one to two days, she said.
While there hasn’t been a high number COVID-19 cases among children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that most children are asymptomatic. In other words, even if they don’t show the signs, they may be spreading the virus.
“It’s really important for them to get it, because kids are thought to be spreaders a lot of the time with COVID-19,” Nimmer said.
If someone is hesitant about the vaccine, Nimmer recommends doing more research or talking to their primary care provider. Doctors are a great source of information regarding the vaccine, she said.