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Students get COVID-19 vaccine Dane County’s first school-based clinic

“It just felt like a little pinch.”
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 10:14 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 8:26 AM CST
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WAUNAKEE, Wis. (WMTV) - Students at Prairie Elementary School did not have to go far Monday to get their COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, the opportunity to protect themselves from the virus came to them.

On Monday, staff from SSM Health and volunteer vaccinators rolled into the Waunakee school, at 700 N. Madison St., so they could start inoculating the newly eligible children between five and 11 years old.

Emily Rodriguez’s son Omar was one of the first students to get the first dose of Pfizer at the clinic.

“As soon as it came out that it [the vaccine] would be approved for ages 5 to 11 which we’ve been waiting on for months, we got an email almost immediately saying they were able to put this together and we were able to sign up and I just think its amazing,” said Rodriguez.

As for Omar, he says the vaccine barely hurt.

“It just felt like a little pinch,” said the third grader. “At first in the car I feel like it would hurt when I actually get it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel anything.”

The hospital points out that this is the first-time health care providers went to a Dane Co. school to hold a school for a pediatric vaccination clinic, adding that it is “honored to partner with area school districts to ensure additional access for families seeking COVID-19 vaccination(s).”

“Our goal from the beginning is to make the vaccine conveniently available in the community,” said Mo Kharbat, VP of Pharmacy services at SSM Health. “It’s all about convenience... the goal is to make the vaccine available to as many kids as possible.”

District Superintendent Randy Guttenberg says that after a successful clinic that vaccinated staff, the next step is bringing the clinic to the younger students. The clinic has taken weeks of preparation.

“Just trying to provide a service to our community,” said Guttenberg. “We have a number of parents who are excited to get their kids vaccinated and looking forward to that level of protection that they’ve identified for themselves and their family... from a school perspective it helps us move forward and bring things back to normal as we’re able to and I think we’re all looking forward to that.”

Guttenberg says the clinic is vaccinating just under 1,000 students over the course of the two day clinic. He says that’s roughly 50 percent of kids in the 5 to 11 age group who are enrolled in Waunakee schools.

The clinic is scheduled to run from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday. It will resume for a second day on Tuesday. Students will then return at the end of the month for the second dose, as the goal is to get them fully vaccinated by Christmas.

The clinic comes less than a week after U.S. health officials gave their final clearance for the vaccine, a move that was quickly followed by guidance and recommendations from the state Dept. of Health Services and Public Health Madison & Dane Co.

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