COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cruz Donaldson, age 2, was the first child under the age of 5 to get a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic Wednesday morning at Columbus Public Health.
Donaldson’s mother, Shyla Thurston, said she did not hesitate to get her son vaccinated as soon as she could. She said despite her best efforts to avoid indoor places with her son, he caught COVID twice. And both times, the infections were serious.
“He ended up in the ER the first time with it. The second time he ended up at the doctor’s office with croup,” she said.
He received the Pfizer vaccine, the only one ordered for now, at Columbus Public Health.
Columbus Public Health began offering the Pfizer vaccine to children 6 months old and up on Wednesday. The department said in a tweet there are plans to add the Moderna vaccine as soon as supplies are available.
Moderna shots will be available through Franklin County Public Health. It will offer two vaccination clinics this week on Thursday and Friday. Unlike CPH’s clinic, appointments are required.
Parents who want to vaccinate their children under the age of 3 who are now eligible will be depending on these clinics. The reason: Ohio pharmacies can not administer the shots to children younger than the age of 3.
Myriam Shaw Odeja is the director of the pharmacy extension and public health initiatives at the Ohio Pharmacists Association. She explained in Ohio pharmacists are able to vaccinate children ages three and above with the COVID-19 vaccine because of provisions allowed by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. She said if your child is too young to be vaccinated at your local pharmacy, a pharmacist can still help point you in the right direction of where to find a clinic.
For parents like Shyla Thurston, beginning the 3-dose vaccine process for her 2-year-old son is like taking three steps closer to returning to a sense of normalcy.
“We’re going to go in and get protected so we can go out and do things again,” she said.