KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — As COVID-19 vaccine appointments begin to open for the newly approved age group of 12- to 15-year-olds, a Kalamazoo County hospital has opened up a pediatric-only clinic.
Sign-ups for appointments opened on Wednesday for the vaccine clinic that would be held in Portage on Sunday with over 350 available slots. Not even 24 hours later, the slots were almost completely filled up.
"We’ve had a really great response. A lot of those vaccine slots are filling up very quickly," said Bronson Methodist Pediatric Hospitalist Dr. Megan Sikkema.
Bronson Healthcare is getting ready for their first pediatric vaccine clinic with Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 12 to 17.
While it will look decently similar, there will also be some differences.
"We’re going to have pediatric staff there and pediatricians there who are used to giving vaccines to kids. These are older kids, so there is not a ton of differences, but again we want to make sure they feel comfortable. They'll see our familiar faces. We hope that they are just talked to in a way that they can understand to be as relaxed as possible," said Dr. Sikkema.
The clinic scheduled for Sunday opened up 384 spots.
Bronson Healthcare said there would be four to five vaccine stations set up to administer the doses.
"There is reasons to help get our teens back to normal by staying in school, staying in athletics, by getting fully vaccinated," said Kalamazoo County Health Department's Medical Director Dr. William Nettleton.
To go in-depth with information from Pfizer's clinical trials, Pfizer said the top three adverse reactions for teens ages 16-17 were pain at the injection site (84.1%), fatigue (62.9%) and headache (55.1%).
For kids ages 12 to 15, their top three adverse reactions were also pain at the injection site (90.5%), fatigue (77.5%) and headache (55.1%).
The Pfizer study proved the vaccine was in fact safe, and it was 100% effective in kids ages 12 to 15.
"This is really one of the most important things that we can do get through this pandemic. This will help us start to see the other side and get our lives back to normal, and vaccinating our teens and hopefully soon our younger kids is a really huge step," said Dr. Sikkema.
Galesburg-Augusta High School and Gull Lake High School are both scheduled to also host vaccine clinics, but those ones will be strictly for students.