Erika Domaz’s 7-year-old son Arthur was among 36 children ages 5 to 11 getting a COVID-19 vaccination Saturday at the Middlebrook Mobile Home Park in Germantown. She encouraged all parents to make sure their children are protected against COVID-19.
And Arthur was eager to do so, if for a more practical reason.
“I want to get the shot so I don’t have to wear my mask anymore,” Arthur said.
Children dressed up in Halloween costumes and left with bags of goodies as a reward for getting vaccinated at the clinic, conducted by Germantown’s Upcounty Hub.
The county began vaccinating children in the 5-to-11 age group on Thursday following the approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Food and Drug Administration.
The Upcounty Hub, a program of the BlackRock Center for the Arts, targets the most vulnerable residents of the county. It held the event in partnership with Casa Ruben, a nonprofit that provides services and outreach to the Hispanic community. The nonprofit Silver Spring clinic Care for Your Health also partnered on the event.
Grace Rivera-Oven, the founder and director of the Upcounty Hub, said her organization chose the mobile home park because it is one of the highest-risk communities in Montgomery County when it comes to the transmission of COVID-19.
“It’s the only trailer park community that exists. There’s little social distancing,” she said.
Rivera-Oven said that a few of the kids who were vaccinated Saturday had lost a parent to COVID-19.
“We want to send a message of how important it is to get your children vaccinated,” she said.
More upcounty clinics are planned in Montgomery Village, Gaithersburg and Layhill in coming weeks, Rivera-Oven said.
Margarita Carmona, a medical assistant with Casa Ruben, said the county received its doses of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine two days ago and has been vaccinating children since then. The organization plans to hold clinics in Montgomery County schools next week.
“It’s a lot of dosages and a lot of kids. But we have to do them for their own safety and for all of our safety,” she said.
County officials have said there are between 95,000 and 105,000 children ages 5 to 11 who are now eligible for the vaccine, according to the Census Bureau. Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard told Bethesda Beat previously that the county and private providers will likely be able to administer first doses of the vaccine to between 35% and 40% of children in that age range during the first week.
The county is running vaccination clinics by appointment at:
- East County Recreational Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring
- Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring
- Montgomery College Germantown Campus, 20200 Observation Drive #4067, Germantown
People can visit the county’s website for additional information on vaccines for 5-to-11-year-olds and to book an appointment.
Montgomery County Public Schools is also running clinics from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the following middle schools:
Banneker Middle School, 14800 Perrywood Drive, Burtonsville
Francis Scott Key Middle School, 910 Schindler Drive, Silver Spring
Argyle Middle School, 2400 Bel Pre Road, Silver Spring
Neelsville Middle School, 11700 Neelsville Church Road, Germantown
Eastern Middle School, 300 University Blvd. E., Silver Spring
Gaithersburg Middle School, 2 Teachers Way, Gaithersburg
Loiederman Middle School, 12701 Goodhill Road, Silver Spring
Montgomery Village Middle School, 19300 Watkins Mill Road, Montgomery Village
Julius West Middle School, 651 Great Falls Road, Rockville
Newport Mill Middle School, 11311 Newport Mill Road, Silver Spring
Silver Spring International Middle School, 313 Wayne Ave., Silver Spring
Redland Middle School, 6505 Muncaster Mill Road, Derwood
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com