Seattle’s 560 youngest public school students are one step closer to being fully vaccinated.
On Monday, hundreds of students lined up to receive their first pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which was approved for children ages 5-11 last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parents at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School documented the first dose of vaccine for their children using cell phone cameras. Families applauded and cheered each other as brothers and sisters walked one by one to receive the first dose.
Most of the students were eager to get their vaccines, but others had a hard time. The students encouraged and consoled each other.
Seven-year-old twin sister and brother Maya and Cole Griesemers, who received the vaccine at Bailey Gatzert Hospital, said it hurt a little.
“It would hurt for just one second, and then it’s over,” said Maya. She said she was ready for the next dose and felt good to have received the first.
Nine-year-old Nora Ignacio said that when she found out she was eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, she began to “dance around the house.” She got the vaccine at Bailey Gatzert and first said she was nervous.
“Some shots hurt, some don’t,” said a fifth grader. “I didn’t know how much it would hurt. My hand froze for a second, but now I feel better. “
Nora’s father, David Ignacio, said he was “hopeful” and “looking forward to the future” now that vaccines are available for young children.
“If we had not gone to school where there is a vaccine, who knows how long we will have to wait,” he added.
Vaccines were administered to four elementary schools in Seattle on Monday. Bailey Gatzert and Lesha Elementary had 100 doses each, according to Audrey Querns, project manager for Strategy, Deployment and Operations at Seattle Public Schools.
Two other schools that had vaccination clinics on Monday – Catharine Blaine K-8 and Arbor Heights Elementary – had about 180 doses each because they have more students, about 500 enrolled in each school, Querns said.
Querns said none of the four schools had extra doses of vaccine, and some families in Leshy even came to Bailey Gatzert for a dose due to high demand.
Other King County school districts also quickly ran out of vaccine doses. In Lake Washington School District and Bellevue School District, vaccines were also available in school buildings on weekends and all records were completed.
Seattle schools are planning to open vaccination clinics in 40 schools for students in these schools. There will be 14 regional clinics for all students in the district on weekends and evenings in Seattle school buildings.
Go to seattleschools.org/news/vaccine-clinic/#school for times, dates, and locations of Seattle school and regional clinics.
It is unclear how the availability of childhood doses of the vaccine will affect Seattle school enrollment. District spokesman Tim Robinson said the district does not expect a large influx of students to re-enroll, but is willing to accept any student who wishes to return to full-time school.