Children can now get the COVID vaccine

Published 6:43 pm Thursday, November 11, 2021

Children ages 5-11 are now able to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, and local kids have wasted no time seeking protection against COVID-19.

According to Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Maria Almond, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed the unanimous recommendation from an independent advisory committee for children ages 5-11 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Following emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday, Oct. 29, the recommendation officially opens the door for school-age children to be vaccinated against the virus.

On Tuesday, Almond highlighted the decision will help build protection for both individual children and the community as a whole.

“We want each of our children to be able to freely interact with the world around them without the threat of disruption that COVID-19 brings.”

Almond noted children ages 5-11 are now able with the help of adults to schedule a vaccination appointment with local pharmacies, pediatricians and health departments.

Local children have already begun rolling up their sleeves to receive the shot, including siblings Page, Virginia and Marion McWilliams, who were the first children in the 5-11 age group in Farmville to get the vaccine.

“When I got the vaccine, it was one of the best experiences of my life,” Page, age 11, said. “It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I know I will be safe from COVID now.”

“I was happy to get it so I wouldn’t get other people sick and because I know I will feel better even if I get COVID,” Marion, age 7, added.

“I am so glad I am halfway vaccinated,” Virginia, age 9, said. “I’m the third one who got the vaccine in Farmville. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I hope all kids get their COVID vaccines.”

Almond emphasized while the vaccine is safe and effective, it is understandable that many parents may desire more information. She encouraged families to talk to their pediatrician.

“Getting our children vaccinated is a critical step to protecting them from COVID-19 and stopping the disruptions that COVID-19 causes,” Almond said. “A vaccinated child can safely stay in school, visit family and friends, travel and take part in extracurricular activities.”

Residents can register for vaccination in advance at vase.vdh.virginia.gov/. If you have any trouble registering or need additional assistance, call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). English- and Spanish-speaking operators are available. Translation services also are available in more than 100 languages.

Almond added appointments are highly recommended for children in order to reduce wait time, but walk-ins are also welcome. A parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18. Those with an appointment should plan to arrive no earlier than 20 minutes prior to the appointment time.

The Piedmont Health District will be hosting six clinics throughout the next week in which children ages 5-11 can obtain a vaccine. These clinics include:

Nov. 10, from 2 – 6 p.m. at the Prince Edward Farmville Youth Association Gymnasium

Nov. 10 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Blackstone Volunteer Fire Department

Nov. 11 from 8:30 a.m. – noon at the Cumberland County Middle School parking lot

Nov. 11 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Amelia County Fairgrounds

Nov. 12 from 2:30 to 6 p.m. during the Frontline Worker Celebration at the Farmville WalMart parking lot

Nov.15 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Buckingham Community Center

In addition to the above clinics, vaccines for children ages 5-11 are being offered by providers throughout the area, including but not limited to  Keysville Pediatrics, Prince Edward Pediatrics, Hope Clinic of Farmville, CVHS New Canton, CVHS Charlotte, Crew Medical Center, the Keysville Walgreens and CVS in Farmville. All pharmacies are planning to offer child vaccinations.

COVID-19 numbers in the Piedmont Health District are remaining fairly steady this week, with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reporting 17 cases out of Lunenburg between Nov. 1 and Nov. 8.

Prince Edward saw 16 new virus cases over the last week, while Buckingham saw 18 new cases. Cumberland saw four new cases, and Charlotte County was up 23 cases in the last seven days.

Prince Edward County saw one new COVID-related death reported over the last week, while Lunenburg saw two new deaths.

The state’s daily number of COVID-19 cases was up slightly to 913 on Monday, Nov. 8, compared to 834 cases the previous Monday. Virginia’s seven-day moving average was down slightly on Monday, sitting at 1,276 compared to 1,328 cases the week prior.

Centra Health enjoyed a decrease in COVID-19 cases in its hospitals this week. Friday, Nov. 5, Centra was reporting a total of 34 cases out of Lynchburg General Hospital and Southside Community Hospital in Farmville. Five of those patients were being treated in the ICU, all five of which were ventilated. Twenty-one of the hospital’s 34 patients were unvaccinated, while the remaining 13 were vaccinated.

Longwood University in Farmville was reporting five active coronavirus cases in its campus community Sunday, Nov. 7. The university has experienced 107 total cases since Aug. 15.

Hampden-Sydney College was reporting two active cases and five individuals quarantining as of its last COVID-19 dashboard update Nov. 3. The school has seen 10 total positive student cases and three employee cases since classes began.

Vaccination rates in each county of the health district, as of Monday, were as follows:

Lunenburg: population fully vaccinated: 48.1%, population with booster shot: 4%

Prince Edward: population fully vaccinated: 41.3%, population with booster shot: 5.8%

Buckingham: population fully vaccinated: 48.3%, population with booster shot: 4.8%

Cumberland: population fully vaccinated: 44.2%, population with booster shot: 4.3%

Charlotte: population fully vaccinated: 47.4%, population with booster shot: 6.1%