Cincinnati Children's Offering Free COVID Vaccine Booster for Kids

In addition to appointment times, Cincinnati Children's is offering a walk-in COVID vaccine clinic on Wednesdays.

Jan 13, 2022 at 3:36 pm
click to enlarge A child gets a shot at Cincinnati Children's Dec. 29 vaccine clinic. - Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Children's
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Children's
A child gets a shot at Cincinnati Children's Dec. 29 vaccine clinic.

As COVID cases continue to rise in Greater Cincinnati — and both the city and the county have declared a state of emergency — the number of COVID cases in children is quickly multiplying. To combat this, Cincinnati Children's is now offering free Pfizer vaccine boosters to kids.

The hospital's COVID vaccine clinics are boosting with the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 or older who have completed the two-dose series of the same vaccine at least five months ago. They are also offering boosters to those ages 5-11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Immunocompromised children may get a third Pfizer shot 28 days after their second dose. Pfizer is currently the only authorized COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

“As Omicron spreads rapidly across our region and kids return to school and ancillary activities, the time to vaccinate is now,” said Susan WadeMurphy, RN, in a release. Murphy is the assistant vice president for Cincinnati Children's Patient Services and also oversees COVID vaccination clinics.

“Evidence demonstrates the value of COVID vaccination in all populations — against both the Delta and Omicron variants. We gave thousands of Pfizer vaccines to the 12-15 age group in the summer of 2021. These youths are now booster eligible if it has been five months since their last COVID vaccine," she continued.

Parents may register for a vaccine appointment at The main Avondale campus is also hosting walk-in hours from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesdays. Adults may get their free COVID vaccine/booster here as well.

During a briefing on Jan. 12, Cincinnati Health Commissioner Dr. Melba Moore stressed that children are being hospitalized with COVID-19 at an alarming rate. Since last week, there has been an 83% increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients ages 0-17, which also is a 540% increase over the last month, she said.

Deborah Hayes, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital, said that the Omicron variant of COVID is playing a role in this sharp uptick, calling it "a virus that spreads almost as, if not as, easily as measles."

Moore said that according to data, only 26% of Hamilton County residents ages 0-19 have completed their COVID vaccination series. COVID-19 vaccinations are available to children ages 5 and older, and boosters are available to those ages 16 and up.

"Cincinnati, we can do better," Moore said, imploring parents and guardians to vaccinate their children.

The rise in cases is also impacting kids — and their caregivers — in another way.  At its Jan. 10 meeting, the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education voted to return to districtwide remote learning beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12. The district has experienced significant absences from educators, administrators, and employees of all types due to COVID-19. Nearly 800 employees reportedly were absent as of Jan. 6.

All CPS schools will shift to remote learning five days a week, with in-person classes set to resume Monday, Jan. 24, but only if there are enough staff available. Employees are to work remotely if they are able. All schools will be off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 17.

The board made the decision based on staffing, not safety, they said.

Cincinnati has information about COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing locations on its health department website. Other regional resources include Hamilton County Public Health and The Health Collaborative.

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