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About one in 10 Peoria County kids ages 5-11 have received 1st Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose

A Pfizer vaccine vial and syringe. A CDC advisory panel has recommended the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine be administered to adolescents age 12 to 15.
A Pfizer vaccine vial and syringe. A CDC advisory panel has recommended the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine be administered to adolescents age 12 to 15.

Nine percent of Peoria County children between ages 5 and 11 have received their first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes after younger kids received final approval to get the shots.

Sarah Overton is OSF HealthCare's chief nursing officer and vice president of clinical services. She said parents should get their kids vaccinated.

"Over 8,300 children have been hospitalized throughout the country overall with COVID," Overton said. "And although it's not always such a negative outcome for those patients, they are also spreaders of the illness."

Health department administrator Monica Hendrickson agreed.

"They're great at transmitting it to other individuals, especially high-risk individuals like grandparents or loved ones," Hendrickson said. "But also, there is a lot of information about long-haulers. So even kids that are asymptomatic or symptomatic, but don't need to be hospitalized, will still have long-term impacts related to COVID."

Vaccinations are available through pharmacies, health departments, and OSF HealthCare and UnityPoint clinics.

Overton said they've seen no major negative impacts in the more than 1,000 kids already vaccinated.

"For our kiddos, as I shared before, maybe the patients were a little apprehensive or crying. But at the end of the experience, they were able to have fun and get a sucker, a sticker, and the parents were delighted when they left," she said.

Sore arms and general fatigue are the most common side effects in young kids, Overton said.

More information on COVID vaccine clinics can be found on the OSF, UnityPoint, or health department websites.

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