Young La Crosse area kids receive first doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – More than 28 million children in the U.S. are now eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the CDC approved the vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11.

And Friday, a local healthcare clinic is distributing those shots to kids.

Meet Charlotte Ballwhan.

She is five years old, and one of the first young kids in our area to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“So you got your COVID shot?,” reporter Tyler Job asked.
“Yeah!,” Charlotte said.
“How did that go?,” Tyler asked.
“Good,” Charlotte responded.

And when asked why she got the vaccine, her response is what any five-year-old might say.

“Stand up for ourselves,” Charlotte said. “And build our muscles.”

Pic For Web Kid Gets Covid Vaccine

Five-year-old Charlotte Ballwahn.

The one who gave her the shot?

Her mother, Kasey, a Mayo Clinic CMA.

“I give her her flu shot every year,” Kasey said. “So, nothing new…She’s tough.”

Kasey says her daughter has asthma, so she thinks the vaccine is the way to go.

“I think she kind of wants to go back to normal at school, and she knows that that’ll help with this,” Kasey said.

Kasey says she did not hesitate to get her child vaccinated, but understands why other parents are not in a hurry to do to the same with their kids.

“It’s new, and it has been highly politicized,” she said.

Mayo Clinic senior engineer and consultant Sandra Elsen says if you’re one of those hesitant parents, she recommends doing some research and talking with your doctor.

“It’s really OK to not know what do,” Elsen said. “There’s a lot of information out there, and to really just boil it down. Check out the safety data, efficacy data. Kids aren’t immune from COVID.”

Doctors say vaccines are not a perfect solution.

“With any vaccine, there are risks,” Kasey said.

But for Kasey and her daughter, getting vaccinated is a way to help keep everyone else safe.

“To be like not sick,” Charlotte said.

A Mayo Clinic nurse administrator says walk-in vaccination appointments for kids will be available next Tuesday through Thursday.

They will be at the former Occupational Health Building at the intersection of 10th and Market Streets in La Crosse.