SAN ANTONIO – Since its approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, parents in San Antonio have flocked to the first mass children’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Wonderland of the Americas mall. Hundreds more parents are waiting for their kids to have their shot at immunity weeks ahead of the holiday season.
Splashes of color throughout the vaccine clinic, including candies, stickers and fun band-aids, attempt to create a more child-friendly area at the clinic.
“(We want to) make it a comforting area instead of all the anxiety of coming in, knowing you’re going to get a vaccine,” said Bill Phillips, chief information officer for University Health. “So, we put cartoon characters of animals all throughout the vaccine clinic. We put candy bowls out. We even have pet therapy.”
Santiago Villarreal, 5, and his older brother, Marco, received their vaccine Tuesday afternoon. Marco said when his mom broke the news that it was their turn to be vaccinated, “I thought, ‘OK, I can do that. I (won’t) get COVID when someone else has COVID. (And) it didn’t hurt at all.”
The Villarreal brothers are two of thousands who have received the first dose of the kids vaccine distributed by University Health in San Antonio.
“Right now, we’re just a little over 2,500 in three days,” Phillips said.
Santiago’s and Marcos’ mom, Madison, signed them up for the vaccine, but she said the decision to do so didn’t come easily.
“I mean, I think I was more nervous than they are,” Madison said. “(I’m nervous about) the side effects, you know, the potential side effects that they could have or not from now, but maybe in years to come.”
Health officials said the short-term effects are minimal and can be treated with over-the-counter medicine. Overall, Phillips said they’re thankful to see many parents on-board with getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
“At a thousand (children’s vaccinations) each day, we’re very happy with that number,” Phillips said.
Appointments for the children’s COVID-19 vaccine are still available each day this week. Parents can register their child online.