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Vaccines available for kids this weekend

vaccine_prep_dec_17.jpeg
Sabine Poux/KDLL
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Kids ages 5 to 11 are now authorized to get their COVID-19 shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave parents the greenlight Tuesday to get their kids vaccinated. And vials of the low-dose vaccine have been making their way to Alaska.

Kenai Public Health Nurse Tami Marsters says the first doses for kids on the Kenai Peninsula will be available by appointment as soon as Friday.

Tami Marsters: We are asking that people make appointments. They can either call 335-3400 or go online, as we have it set up through the state site. And we have appointments available tomorrow, and of course then we're going strong through the next week.

KDLL: What kind of vaccine are kids getting? And is it a different dosage than the one that we're giving to older kids and adults?

TM: Yes, it is a different dosage. It's a third of the dose that we give to adults and it has a little different carrier in it. And it's the same carrier that Moderna uses, so it disperses the vaccine a little bit better and it will last a little bit longer in the refrigerator.

It's a two-shot series for kids as well as adults, so it's 21 days between first and second. And we will have vaccine for that. I know at first when we first started doing these that that was kind of a big deal — you had to go back to the same place and maybe they'd have vaccine, maybe they wouldn't. But we're good. We're good with vaccine.

KDLL: Have you seen a lot of interest so far from parents?

TM: We have. We've had quite a few phone calls.

KDLL: What would you say to parents who are considering getting their kids vaccinated but maybe are on the fence about it?

TM: Of course, I believe in vaccines, I believe in science. And I just would encourage them to do it because the COVID disease is pretty nasty and taking a chance on that is not something I would want to do for my kiddo.

KDLL: Are we still seeing people every day get vaccinated on the peninsula for every age group?

TM: We are. Not in great numbers, but we are. And, of course, people are getting their boosters 

KDLL: Who is eligible for a booster at this moment?

TM: Anybody age 65 or older. Anybody over the age of 18 that works with the public or feels that they are exposed to COVID. And anybody that has a comorbidities.

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Kenai Public Health has appointments open for kids age 5-11 as soon as tomorrow, as does the Kenai Walmart. Walgreens also is vaccinating kids by appointment starting this weekend. 

On the southern peninsula, South Peninsula Hospital in Homer is holding a mass vaccine clinic for kids this Saturday at Homer High School. 

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