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Sedgwick County Opens Up Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility For Kids Over 12

Deborah Shaar

Adolescents are now eligible forCOVID-19 vaccinations.

The Sedgwick County Health Department on Thursday began offering the Pfizer vaccine to kids over 12 years old.

No appointments are needed at the county’s mass clinic at the former library downtown or at any of the mobile clinic locations. However, parents or legal guardians are required to give permission for kids to get shots.

Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said expanding vaccines to children will help stop the spread of the disease.

"Even though fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can still be infected with COVID-19 and there’s no way to tell in advance whether they might have a very mild case or severe case," Byrne said. The county estimates that there are 45,000 kids in the 12 to 17 age range in Sedgwick County.

Kids can also get the shot at pharmacies like CVS and other retail providers. Some drug stores may require an appointment.

The Pfizer vaccine was previously authorized for those 16 and older and is given in two doses, about three weeks apart. So far, this is the only vaccine authorized for young people. Health officials say side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are normal signs that the body is building protection.

As of Thursday, more than 104,000 people in Sedgwick County are considered fully vaccinated.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.