FARMINGTON -- Parents were already in line Friday night outside the gates at Cardinal Stadium to get their children immunized with the pediatric dose of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine.
Washington County Health Unit set up a vaccine clinic, starting at 5:30 p.m., prior to the high school football game against Alma. The unit not only offered the pediatric vaccine for ages 5-11, it also offered the covid vaccine for ages 12 and up from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, and a flu shot.
Audrey Eldridge, Farmington schools' point of contact for covid-19, said the health unit put out an email looking for schools to host a clinic and she volunteered Farmington.
"I was surprised we got one," Eldridge said.
Her youngest son, Tripp Eldridge, 7, was the first to get the pediatric dose Friday and also is the last one in her family to be vaccinated for the coronavirus.
As a Famington school nurse, Eldridge said she encourages parents to get their children vaccinated to help keep them in school so that they do not have to quarantine and can continue to learn.
"You have to be healthy to be able to learn," Eldridge said.
Along with academics, schools also provide many other services that children need, Eldridge said, pointing to food and therapy as other services provided to children in the Farmington School District.
Children who are vaccinated and exposed to someone who tests positive for covid-19 do not have to quarantine from school, Eldridge said, unless they start showing symptoms.
"We recommend that they get tested, but they still don't have to quarantine while they are waiting for the test results," she said.
Eldridge and her husband, Farmington head football coach J.R. Eldridge, have been vaccinated, along with their two older children.
Extensive trials show very few rare side effects with the full dosage of Pfizer, Eldridge said, adding trials show the smaller dosage for children is safe and effective.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advisory board, CDC director and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11, and Arkansas began distributing the shots last week. Pfizer's pedatric vaccine has one-third the dosage of the vaccine for ages 12 and up.
Kaylyn Busch, Farmington High's library media specialist, has received her covid vaccinations and booster and brought her daughter, Adalyn, 7, to the clinic at the football stadium.
"Now, it's her turn," Busch said. "With us traveling so much, it's definitely needed, and I want her to be safe."
Adalyn brought up getting the shot first because she had heard about it on the news, Busch said.
"She came home and said, 'Mom, it's time for me to get the vaccine.'"
While sitting in a chair for her turn, Adalyn said she was "yes and no" about the vaccination.
Yes, she said she wanted it "because I'll be safe." No, she said, "because I'm scared of shots."
She sat quietly and received her shot without any problems or tears.
John Fuller brought his two children, a 9-year-old and 6-year-old, for their covid vaccinations.
"They've had 15 shots up to now," Fuller said. "It's not going to hurt to get one more."
Fuller said getting the covid vaccination is the "smart" thing to do.
Another Farmington parent, Masa Williams, said she believes in science and in herd immunity.
"The quicker we get to herd immunity, the better it will be for everyone," said Williams, who brought her 6-year-old daughter to receive the vaccination. "I'm doing it for my family and for others as well."
The Watkins family brought their youngest, Cohen, a fifth grader at Farmington Middle School. His parents first received their booster shots, and then Cohen sat down for his vaccination. Their older children already have been vaccinated.
"The more people who get the vaccination, the less the virus will spread," said Cassady Watkins.
A representative with the health unit said those who received their first vaccination Friday can go anywhere to get the second shot after the appropriate time period.