A line of teens and parents wrapped around a section of the TownMall of Westminster on Wednesday afternoon before doors opened for Carroll County’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic for 12- to 17-year-olds.
Federal and state officials determined the Pfizer vaccine to be safe for young people. It was the vaccine being offered inside the mall, where Sears used to be located. Once people walked in, adolescents were directed to several stations around the room, seated, given their first dose by a health professional and then were offered a lollipop after a Band-Aid was placed on their arm.
Some tears were shed by those receiving the injection. Parents and siblings held the hands of their loved ones who were being pricked. But others, like 12-year-old Rowan Dardick, didn’t seem phased by the puncture.
He said he was nervous at first because he knew there would be pain, but it turned out OK. And well worth it because “it was a good lollipop.”
The clinic had 1,170 doses of Pfizer, and Ed Singer, county health officer, said 1,160 people were registered for Wednesday’s clinic.
Also present at the clinic was Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader. He said as more people are receiving the vaccine, less mass vaccine sites will be needed throughout the state. And the plan is to phase them out. He also said 87% of Marylanders 65 and older are vaccinated, but that they are still trying to reach 124,000 people in that population.
Adolescent clinics started last week, Schrader said. And they want to vaccinate the 307,000 12- to 15-year-olds and 147,000 16- and 17-year-olds since hospitals have been seeing much younger COVID-19 patients lately.
The Carroll County Public Schools Board of Education lifted its outdoor mandatory mask mandate last week. Though Singer expressed concern for unvaccinated children playing close together during recess. Schrader said at Wednesday’s clinic that the state’s recent lifting of mask rules indoors and outdoors in pubic places, other than businesses and schools, was a “baseline.” But it’s up to local jurisdictions to make their own decisions.
Lux Davis said the shot went well, it was fast and the woman who administered it was nice.
“I’m still kind of shaking,” the 12-year-old said. “I’m really nervous around shots. I really don’t like them.”
Kevin Davis, her dad, said they signed up for the clinic the first chance they got, and vaccinating Lux simply made sense after the family decided they would all be vaccinated.
Approximately 48 to 50 volunteers were helping at the clinic on Wednesday, along with the National Guard.
Jasmine Lewis, a state care coordinator helping with the clinic, said some of the kids are nervous when they arrive but are often surprised to see how quick it is.
“I’m really excited to see how many got vaccinated,” she said.
“The kids honestly have been taking it better than the parents do,” Rick Pauley, fellow state care coordinator, said. “It’s good to see them coming and getting it done.”
Jessica Kreh, 14, said the shot was easy and fast. She said she’s usually terrified of shots but her mom, Holly, said she probably prepared them for it after telling them when she got her vaccine.
A couple of kids at the clinic had to be placed in wheelchairs after receiving the vaccine and were taken to a section beyond a closed curtain.
Kerry McCann, a school nurse at Friendship Valley Elementary who was helping Wednesday, said everyone was fine. And although she could not speak about any patients specifically, she did say people often experience a vasovagal response to shots, which can result in fainting.
But most kids fared well during the beginning of the clinic. Like Jaheid Dorsey.
“I just felt, like, natural, like nothing really happened,” the 12-year-old said. “I felt like a tiny little sting.”
Although he was scared of shots when he was younger, “he was a brave soldier this time,” his mom, Zoe Dorsey, said.
Cases decrease in CCPS
COVID-19 cases dropped significantly in Carroll County Public Schools buildings this week.
There were 79 cases listed on the weekly dashboard last week, but 49 cases posted this week. Of those cases, only three belonged to staff members.
Latest Carroll County News
The number of people with symptoms went from 208 last week to 195 this week, with 12 belonging to staff.