RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the Commonwealth expands its vaccine eligibility to those in group 1c, Thursday the Children Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) offered the Pfizer-Biotech vaccines to its pediatric patients with underlying conditions and up to two caregivers for the first time.
“You’re protected. So in the end, if you did get COVID, you have a backup, like a power tool inside of you that will stop it,” said Jaehon Roberts.
Roberts, 16, was one of the patients who received the first dose of the vaccine, along with his mother Thursday morning.
Rocquel Crawley with the Children’s Hospital says this was possible because the state’s vaccine supply continues to increase.
“Because we now have vaccines available, we want to offer this to our patients and caregivers in order to get vaccinated,” Crawley said.
This was the first in a series of vaccination clinics scheduled to ensure that families who need it receive equitable protection. About 60 people - 30 patients and 30 caregivers - received their first dose, but Crawley says they could have vaccinated three times as many people.
“We were prepared to vaccinate over 200,” Crawley said.
On top of COVID-19, Crawley says the hospital is battling skepticism for the vaccines.
“There is a historical mistreatment of people of color in the healthcare system, so as healthcare providers, we need to do our part to earn the trust of those individuals,” Crawley said. “As a woman of color I got vaccinated; I was excited, my family members and my friends were excited too.”
Crawly hopes that seeing younger people eager to get their shot will help build public trust in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
“I have seen the first-hand devastation of COVID to people in my community, my family members and my friends, so I’m urging everyone to get vaccinated if you are eligible.”
The next clinic will be held by appointment only on Saturday, March 27 at the Children’s Pavilion. CHoR is contacting families of current patients who qualify for this clinic, where it plans to administer more than 850 additional vaccines. Recipients will be scheduled to receive their second dose at a subsequent clinic next month.
CHoR is asking that families do not call to schedule appointments and that the hospital will reach out directly with a call or text to families who qualify.
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