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Birmingham City Schools’ COVID-19 vaccine clinics reassure families

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From left, Central Park Elementary student Ja’Karia Calhoun; her mother, Courtney Mossley and Jashawn Stephens, student, during COVID-19 pop-up clinic at Central Park Elementary. (Haley Wilson, The Birmingham Times)

By Haley Wilson

The Birmingham Times

On Monday, Birmingham City Schools held its first of a week-long free COVID-19 vaccination pop-up clinics beginning at Avondale and Central Park Elementary Schools. Vaccine and booster shots were available for adults and youths ages 5 and up.

JohnQueta Archie, Community Development Coordinator for Jefferson County at Cahaba Medical Care, said the vaccinations are an opportunity to reassure parents “… because mom and dad probably may have already been vaccinated and they just want to go ahead and get their children vaccinated as well. So, what better way than us [Cahaba Medical Care] to come to the schools and offer our services.”

Nurses and other medical professionals from Cahaba Medical Care administered doses of the Pfizer vaccine and provided sanitation supplies, vaccination cards and stickers.

“We really try to work with kids who may be a bit worried about receiving a shot,” said Archie. “We talk them through it and remind them that they are doing a good job keeping friends and family safe. We also encourage parents to come along with their kids because if a parent is with them, the [children] will 9 times out of 10 feel more comfortable.”

Courtney Mossley, mother of two students at Central Park Elementary, said the is “a much-needed step” for her household.

“COVID is still very real, and I found it important for my daughter to receive her vaccination today because I want our household, her teacher and classmates, and anybody else she may encounter to stay healthy,” Mossley said.

Her 10-year-old daughter, Ja’Karia Calhoun, said she “wasn’t too scared about it. My mom was with me and I was able to just do it,” Ja’Karia said.

Clinics will be offered at:

  • WJ Christian K-8: Tuesday, Dec. 14: 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Glen Iris Elementary and EPIC Elementary, Wednesday, Dec. 15: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Phillips Academy, Wednesday, Dec. 15: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • South Hampton K-8, Thursday, Dec. 16: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

 

Here are some tips on preparing children and teens for vaccinations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Talk to your child before vaccination about what to expect.
  • It is not recommended you give pain relievers before vaccination to try to prevent side effects.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • To prevent fainting and injuries related to fainting, your child should be seated or lying down during vaccination and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given.
  • After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

After Your Child’s COVID-19 Vaccination

Your child may have some side effects, which are normal signs that their body is building protection.

  • On the arm where your child got the shot: Pain, Redness, Swelling
  • Throughout the rest of their body: Tiredness, Headache, Muscle pain, Chills, Fever, Nausea

These side effects may affect your child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects and severe allergic reactions are rare. If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine providers can rapidly provide care and call for emergency medical services, if needed.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home after your child gets vaccinated. In general, aspirin is not recommended for use in children and adolescents less than 18 years of age. Placing a cool, damp cloth on the injection site can help with discomfort.

For more visit the CDC at Vaccines for Your Children | CDC