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San Mateo Health Officials Launch "Playland" Themed Kids COVID Vaccination Site

SAN MATEO, Calif. (CBS SF) -- Families across San Mateo County came to the San Mateo Events Center Saturday for their first chance to get children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated against COVID-19.

The "Playland" theme provided a safe and friendly environment for 340 children to receive the vaccine with an appointment as county officials gear up to offer the clinic multiple days of the week.

"I want to protect my children as well as those around them," said Elaine Nagashima. "It's been a long time since we've been going through this pandemic. They've sort of been the last group to be eligible so it was important for us to make sure they were able to get the vaccine."

Nagashima and her husband brought their three children to the clinic, all old enough to get the vaccine. While her younger daughters did not know exactly why they were getting the shot, they were glad it didn't hurt much and there were plenty of distractions.

"They gave us snacks, they gave us juice, they gave us stickers, and we get to watch a movie," one of them said.

Their youngest child is 6-years-old with an older sister who is 9. The girls' older brother, Kai, 11, knew exactly why he and his siblings needed to get the vaccine.

"Once everybody is vaccinated, there's a lower percentage or chance that you'll catch COVID, nobody will catch COVID, and we can stop wearing masks and then this whole pandemic will end," he told KPIX 5.

Other families agreed with the sentiment that the characters, bright colors, and fun activities were a helpful way to get young children comfortable to receive an injection.

"I thought it was great and I think they did a really good and he was super excited to get it," one mother said.

Her 9-year-old son also understood why he had to get the shot.

"So I don't get COVID, it will help me not get COVID," the boy said.

County leaders were on site to make sure the first day was a success. They were glad to see so many families participated in the clinic and all the slots were booked. They hope more parents will sign up and use the My Turn portal to make an appointment. Next week the clinic will offer appointments Wednesday through Saturday.

"What we're doing right now is making sure, making sure and make no mistake about it, that we leave no one behind including our children," said San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa. "We know with vaccinations, vaccinations will end COVID and that by far is what people should be thinking about."

Parents were grateful the clinic allowed their entire household to become vaccinated. A crucial step for communities across the Bay Area to make sure students decrease the potential for spread at school among teachers, staff, and other children. It will also assist multi-generational homes from avoiding COVID-19 infections.

"They're just that extra level that we needed to make sure that we return to normalcy as soon as possible," Mrs. Nagashima said.

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