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Peninsula kids get their first shots

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Sabine Poux/KDLL
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Serena Bowen waits in the lobby of the Kenai Public Health Center with her dad Steve after getting her very first COVID-19 shot.

She’s been doing homeschool with a small group of kids during the pandemic to mitigate the risk of getting the virus. Once things get back to normal, she’ll go back to school at Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science.

But that’s not all she’s excited for.

“I’m excited to go out shopping, at stores like Fred Meyer, Walmart,” she said. “Or getting ice cream.”

Vaccines became available for 5-11 year olds earlier this week and Kenai Public Health is now starting to put shots in little arms. On Friday — the first day Kenai Public Health is vaccinating kids — most families echo Serena’s statement: They’re excited to get back to normal. 

Nurse Tami Marsters says these aren’t unlike other COVID-19 vaccine appointments. But nurses are trying to gauge today how much time they need for each, anticipating they might take a bit longer. 

“Kids are hesitant,” Marsters said. “You have to take a little more time, be a little more patient with them.”

But the several kids waiting in the lobby seem pretty relaxed about the whole thing.

Madisen Redder said she’s feeling good after her first shot. She’s in fourth grade at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School.

She's looking forward to "seeing my friends a little more often, she said. “Going to places I can’t go without the vaccine.”

“We travel a lot,” said her mom, Mandy, who got her booster today. “So we’ve been planning a trip to Greece. And in March, we’re going to Jamaica. And you have to have one to go there. So travel’s a big thing.”

They’re not the only ones getting multiple family members vaccinated at a time. 

Rosemary Dura is in fourth grade at Kaleidoscope. She and her two younger sisters, Annabeth and Marielle, got their shots today, too.

“It means that I can travel, sort of,” Rosemary said. “Or do more stuff, I guess.”

Jodi Dura says she called to book an appointment as soon as the vaccine was authorized for kids

“And they’ve not been able to do a lot,” she said. “So they were pretty excited to get this and the start of the process of being able to do more things.”

They’ll get their second vaccine right after Thanksgiving, so they’ll be fully immunized by the December holidays.

“We do have one child that’s younger, so she’s gotta wait,” Jodi said. “But this is a start.”

Kenai Public Health has appointments available for 5-11 year olds to get the vaccine. You can book them online or call the office directly.Kenai Walmart and Walgreens are also vaccinating kids by appointment starting this weekend.

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