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First COVID-19 vaccine hub for babies and toddlers tested with Texas A&M families

Posted at 9:35 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 22:35:09-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Just five days ago the FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months of age. Wednesday was a historic day for Texas A&M, as faculty, staff and students brought in their young children to receive the vaccine.

These Aggie kids are potentially the first babies and toddlers to receive the vaccine in all of Texas.

Texas A&M’s University System oversees the Texas Department of Emergency Management [TDEM], the organization in charge of COVID-19 vaccine hubs and vaccine roll-outs. As the department prepares to distribute vaccines for young children all over Texas, they planned to practice just how a hub will operate.

So, they invited Texas A&M faculty, staff, and students to bring their children into the College Station office Wednesday afternoon.

“Parents have taken children to get vaccines for many, many years," said Nim Kidd, chief of TDEM. "But we usually do that in a pediatrician’s office. So we wanted to take a look at what we would deal with, trying to have vaccines for kids that young outside of the pediatrician setting.”

Kidd said that hubs will have access to pediatric professionals and medical students on site. Wednesday in College Station, Texas A&M College of Medicine's Dr. Robert Carpenter, a general surgeon, administered the small doses of Moderna vaccines alongside a pediatrician.

“One of the challenges that we’re facing in the state of Texas is that we don’t have a very large number of pediatricians and family practice offices that are currently either willing or able to offer this vaccine to our youngest Texans," Carpenter said. "And that’s why we’re really excited to be a part of this.”

Allison Hopkins, a Texas A&M faculty member, brought her 4-year-old daughter, Aria, in to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. Hopkins and her husband were already on the way to getting their own adult booster shots. They felt the shot may be necessary for Aria, as the family planned to make a visit to Mexico soon.

“I travel for my job and I’m often out of the country, and so I feel it’s particularly important for me and my family to be vaccinated so that we’re protected," Hopkins said.

Kidd noted that, depending on how Wednesday's operation went, TDEM could be ready to initiate vaccine roll-out across the state as soon as Thursday.