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Colorado medical experts address pediatric vaccine accessibility issues

Kids COVID-19 vaccines
Posted at 10:03 AM, Nov 09, 2021

DENVER — As Colorado healthcare providers work to administer the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine to kids across the state, the medical community is also addressing accessibility concerns.

“We want to do everything in our power to make it so that it’s accessible to everybody,” said Laura-Anne Cleveland, associate chief nursing officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Accessibility to the vaccine is still a major issue for adults from underserved and minority communities. Experts fear the same could be true for children.

Cleveland said some parents are unsure where their kids can get the vaccine, and some think there's a cost associated with the shot, or that they need health insurance.

“There's also technology barriers. Many vaccine appointments require you to sign up online,” Cleveland said.

But healthcare providers are trying to address some of these concerns with child vaccine clinics.

Recently, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children held a pediatric vaccine clinic.

More than 300 kids received shots. Vaccines were available for adults too. Cleveland said during the clinic, with the help of the CDPHE and the kids themselves, medical staff members overcame another accessibility barrier — language.

“The CPDHE actually supplied a translator — an in-person translator — all day at the vaccine clinic. She didn't need to be used a ton because many of our Spanish-speaking folks actually knew enough English and actually the kids were very good at translating too and the parents preferred that,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said vaccine side effects are another big deterrent for some parents and those concerns should not be dismissed.

“But if any of these parents who have had children with COVID-19, who are in the hospital, or have had to sit with them when they were being helped with breathing, or, God forbid, some of the ones that did lose their lives, I think if we could offer a vaccine to them now knowing that they might feel a little under the weather, they’d jump at it,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said CDPHE and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children plan to host more pediatric vaccine clinics in the near future.