Line of people stood outside of Palau National Gym waiting their turn to get their booster shots against COVID-19.

Over 50 young children received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday as Palau began its rollout of the Pfizer shots to children ages 5 to 11. 

 Eleven -year old  Surangel Arthur, President Surangel Whipps Jr. son stuck out his right arm to get his first COVID-19 shot, wincing briefly but showing surprise that it was over in a matter of seconds. 

Arthur said at first he didn’t want to come because he was scared that it would hurt, t but he was all smiles after receiving the vaccine, saying he didn’t “feel anything.” 

First Lady Valerie Whipps said Palau is very fortunate that the COVID-19 vaccine to young children is now available here and urges other parents to get their young children vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“Now the vaccination is offered to our kids, we should take advantage of that, we know that will make a difference in getting vaccinated, it’s saving lives, so we need to bring their kids so the entire family will be protected,” she said. 

Dr. Gregory Dever who was one of the attending physicians at the vaccination venue at the Palau National Gym said that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Dr. Dever said the likelihood  of severe side effects of the vaccine to young children is “very very low.” 

He said that younger kids only get a lower dose or 10-microgram dose, which is much lower than those given to 12 years old and up. 

“So the kids don’t need as much as the adults to stimulate their immune system, because their immune system is really prime, that is why we give them a lower dose,” Dr, Dever added.

He said the first day of the vaccine rollout  “did well.”

Tourism Minister Ngirai Tmetuchl who also brought his nine-year-old daughter on the first day of the vaccine rollout said vaccinating all age groups to protect everyone from COVID-19.

He said that his  daughter “understands the importance of getting vaccinated.”

Min, Tmetuchl also encouraged other parents to get their kids their shots. 

‘“The first line of defense is the vaccine, and when things are normalized and tourism is opening, we need the people to be protected,” he said.

Delegate Yutaka Gibbons  Jr,. , whose seven-year-old daughter was among the first group who received the vaccine said it was an opportunity for his young child to protect herself and others.

“The kids are updated about the coronavirus and they know how important vaccination is,”

Please come and get your shots, it’s good for everyone and it’s a good opportunity that vaccines are available in Palau, “ Del. Gibbons said.

The vaccine rollout for the kids will continue until  Dec. 3 and is scheduled from 3 p.m to 6 pm.

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