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COVID: School Clinics Help Alameda County Outpace State In Vaccinating Kids

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The push to vaccinate 5 to 11 year-olds in the Bay Area and across California is barely two weeks old. Initially there was talk of a big rush to beat the holidays, so how are things going? Maybe a little slower than expected, but steady.

"I'm really excited," said Monet Frierson ahead of her shot.

"I'm nervous," admitted her sister Monique.

For the sisters, it was a mix of nerves and excitement. While mom was glad it was at a convenient location that made her a bit more comfortable.

"And it makes them more comfortable too," said Domonique Frierson. "Knowing that it's an elementary school, like the elementary school they go to. They'll feel more relaxed, instead of doing it at a clinic."

When it actually came time for the shots, there was some more apprehension, and a little bit of wiggling, but was it really so bad?

"No," Monet declared proudly.

"I was nervous, too," Monique said. "But it wasn't that bad."

Thursday's clinic at Markham Elementary is part of the effort to get more kids vaccinated across Oakland and Alameda County. As of Thursday, about 20% of county residents aged 5 to 11 have been vaccinated. That's compared to about 10% statewide.

A similar trend is reflected among the next age group, a higher vaccination rate in Alameda than California as a whole.

"As an Oakland resident and a prior Alameda County health official, I'm proud of all the Bay Area has done," said California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan, who visited the clinic Thursday.

"Again, it's so convenient. As a parent, it was so much easier just to have my kids vaccinated at school rather than make a whole another appointment, or take time off work," Pan went on to say.

And that is how the state hopes to drive up numbers in the coming weeks, making it easy by meeting students where they are.

"That being said, it did take us a while to get to even where we are with 12 to 15 year olds, once they became eligible last spring," Pan says. "It has still taken us several months to get to even the numbers we are at now."

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