About 1,200 children receive COVID-19 vaccine at Morrisville clinic


MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Eastern Carolina Medical Center partnered with the Hindu Society of North Carolina to hold a mass vaccine clinic for children 12 and older on Saturday.

“We knew when the kids were approved, we were ready to go,” said Ritesh Patel, director of pharmacy services for Eastern Carolina Medical Center.

Patel’s team administered doses of the Pfizer vaccine to about 1,200 kids and teens during the nine-hour clinic. Jiya Panchal, 14, said she was looking forward to getting her shot.

“I can go do stuff outside and get to see all of my friends and hang out and get back into the normal life before the pandemic started,” said Panchal.

Bibha Kestur, 15, added, “I’m happy because when we go to the beach this summer or places, I can be safe and I don’t have to worry about getting Corona.”

Parents said they feel relieved to know their children are now at least partially vaccinated.

“Sean in our case has some vulnerabilities, so it was good to have him get a chance to get the vaccine and not have to worry about any transmission down the road,” said Jay Barr, who brought his son to get vaccinated.

According to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, children 17 and under make up about 12 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases.

“It’s reassuring to see that there are parents that are coming out and they recognize that it is important to get their kids vaccinated. They might not be at risk, but they can still transmit,” said Barr.

Saturday’s clinic helped Patel use up some of the vaccine supply that’s been sitting on the shelves since demand among adults has dropped.

“We’ve done about 52,000 shots as a team in North Carolina and Virginia, and we’ve slowed down to where we’re doing five or six a day,” he said.

Patel is hopeful those doses will eventually go into arms and bring the state closer to vaccinating two thirds of the population.

“Now that the kids are eligible, it does help us increase that number in the right direction with more and more kids being vaccinated, and I would imagine, hopefully more adults jump on board,” he said.

The Hindu Society of North Carolina will host another mass vaccine clinic for children 12 and older on Saturday, June 5.

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