SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In the first week, there’s been a steady demand for the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11.
Sanford Health started giving shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11 one week ago. In the seven days since, Sanford officials say more than 2,000 kids have been vaccinated through the health system.
“The response has been simply outstanding,” Sanford Health Chief Physician Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said.
Cauwels said Sanford Health shipped some of its youth vaccine supply to western South Dakota because there was a higher demand.
“They needed more than they originally ordered, and we happened to have more than enough on hand,” Cauwels said.
A spokeswoman with Monument Health told KELOLAND News the western S.D. health system has given the COVID-19 vaccine to 138 kids age 5-11 since Nov. 5. Monument has 539 more kids scheduled through Saturday and 641 scheduled through Dec. 5.
“Sanford did send additional doses our way,” Stephany Chalberg said in a email. “We’re grateful that the three health care systems have been able to work together so smoothly throughout the entire COVID-19 vaccine process.”
Cauwels added Sanford has more than 5,000 kids signed up to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in the next five business days.
Cauwels said it’s important to know kids can transmit COVID-19. He also said anyone who is fully vaccinated is less likely to catch and transmit COVID-19. He stressed those two facts are important for families to consider when gathering for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
“If your kids are vaccinated, they’re much less likely to transmit a virus between each other and much less likely to transmit a virus to grandpa or grandma or grandpa or anyone else if they’re vaccinated,” Cauwels said. “For us, it’s the best chance we have to fully recommend a safe holiday season by making sure that the whole family is vaccinated when they are able.”
Avera Health said there was initial rush in demand the first few days after the vaccine became available for kids age 5-11. They also said retail locations like Hy-Vee offer extended hours, which may fit families schedules better.
South Dakota’s Department of Health said the state received 30,000 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11. Parents are encouraged to reach out to health care providers about getting the vaccine for kids.