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Families Line Up For Kids' COVID-19 Vaccination Event At St. Anthony Hospital Clinic In Little Village

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This weekend was the first for COVID-19 vaccine events for children, and on Sunday, hundreds of children as young as 5 years old got their Pfizer shots in Little Village.

As CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported, some parents even joined their children and got booster shots at the same time at the St. Anthony Hospital Community Clinic at 3059 W. 26th St.

This came just days after the final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children ages 5 to 11. Small clinics began during the week, and major pharmacies and vaccination events – such as the one in Little Village – started this weekend.

COVID-19 vaccinations look a little different with younger kids now involved – with everything from smaller doses to extra comfort.

"When it comes to kids, everybody's just a little more anxious," said Dr. Romeen Lavani, pediatrician and chief medical officer at St. Anthony Hospital. "We are trying to manage their anxiety. When they come in, we try, you know, distraction techniques. There are different kinds of stickers for them. They get to pick their stickers. You know, when they leave, they get a cookie or a concha."

A DJ was also on site, and the hospital mascot Little Tony was there to mingle with guests.

As spots for children's vaccinations opened up at pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens over the weekend, Dr. Lavani said it is no accident that Little Village was chosen for the hospital system's first kids' vaccine day.

"It's a high-risk community; high comorbidities – diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease - and that's the highest risks for COVID," he said. "I'm a pediatric critical care physician, and I've seen some kids very, very sick from COVID."

Mom Christina Marquez said the peace of mind was worth a shot.

"It makes me feel more comfortable," Marquez said. "With younger children – younger than 10 – it's hard for them to keep their masks on, constantly coughing. Some of the schools do not have sufficient supplies."

St. Anthony Hospital has two more pop-up events for children ages 5 and up coming up in Lawndale and Austin on the city's West Side. We'll share more information on those events once it becomes available.

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