Polk County holds clinics to help kids get vaccinated

They were rolling up their sleeves at Lake Gibson Senior High School on Thursday. The Polk County Health Department held a clinic there to get as many young kids as possible vaccinated against COVID-19.

Jessie Gomez didn’t hesitate to bring her 9-year-old daughter Anabel.

"The whole idea of COVID killing kids scares me," she told FOX 13. "I prefer to be on the safe side and not worry about it."

The event comes in the wake of the FDA approving the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 through 11 years old at the end of October. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still waiting to be approved.

This was the second event of its kind in Polk County two days. The other was at Ridge Community High School in Davenport the day before.

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Pamela Acosta-Torres, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health, says they are making a concerted effort to educate parents about the value of getting their kids vaccinated.

"Although COVID-19 cases in this age group are less severe, they can still get infected. They can have symptoms. They can have short- and long-term effects, and they can spread it to others," she explained.

In the last few weeks, 2,100 kids in the 5 to 11 age range in Polk have gotten the shot. That represents about four percent of the kids who are eligible.

In an effort to increase that number, the Polk Department of Health will be vaccinating younger kids at the Bartow Specialty Care Clinic along Bryce Road in Bartow on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now on, except on holidays.

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The vaccination is also being offered at many pediatrician’s offices, and pharmacies.

On Thursday, the Watson Clinic in Lakeland announced it is now offering the vaccine to younger children as well.