UAMS Vaccinates Children 12+ at May 22 Community Vaccine Clinic

By Linda Satter

As with clinics held at the arena on April 10 and May 1, the vaccination effort was conducted by UAMS in cooperation with the cities of North Little Rock and Sherwood, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the arena and Pulaski County. The North Little Rock School District also partnered for this event.

Twelve-year-old Chloe Pettus of North Little Rock, a sixth-grade student at Lakewood Middle School, was brought to the clinic by her mother, Tarsika Perry, who had already been vaccinated.

“I told her this is something she needed,” Perry said. “Her grandmother and older brothers got the shot already, and I’ve got one more child to go. He’s 10.”

The 10 year old has to wait until vaccines are authorized for that age group. But his sister, Chloe, said the shot didn’t hurt and that she plans to encourage everyone she knows to get their vaccination.

“I want all my friends to get vaccinated,” she said.

Margaret Powell, director of external affairs for the city of North Little Rock, was thrilled to hear Chloe’s commitment.

“We are really hoping to reach a lot of young people who then go and tell their friends,” she said.

As one of the organizers of the joint vaccination effort, she said, “The partnership has been wonderful.”

Third and fourth-year medical students administered the Pfizer vaccines under the guidance of Robert J. Hopkins Jr., M.D., a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine who is also chairman of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and David A. Nelsen Jr., M.D., an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Family and Preventive Medicine Department and UAMS’ associate chief clinical information officer.

Helena Drolshagen, a third-year medical student, was one of several volunteers at the clinic.

Helena Drolshagen, a third-year medical student, was one of several volunteers at the clinic.

“The more immunity we get to this virus, the less it will circulate in the community,” said Nelsen. “The efficiency of the vaccine is really unheard of in the history of vaccines,” with an efficacy rate of “upwards of 95%.”

Nelsen said that among medical professionals, “the consensus is that the vaccination is the way out of the pandemic.”

He said doctors expect that children between the ages of five and 11 will be the next age group for which the vaccine is authorized.