BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dr. Stephen Turkovich, the Chief Medical Officer at Oishei Children's Hospital, said his youngest son had an odd request for his 9th birthday back in September: the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Both of them have really been anxiously waiting for this. My youngest turned 9 in September. He was hoping to actually get the vaccine for his birthday," Dr. Turkovich said.
But now, 5 to 11-year-olds are eligible to take the shot. Dr. Turkovich said his sons were actually excited to take the shot Wednesday.
"Because in their mind, this is the step that will allow them to return to normal. Potentially not having to use masks at school in the near future, and really more importantly, is if they were exposed to COVID once they're fully vaccinated, they won't need to quarantine from school. In their mind, really they don't want to quarantine from their athletic activities. The thing they told me they were most excited about was returning to sleepovers with their friends," Dr. Turkovich said.
Dr. Turkovich said protecting his sons was his number one concern, but protecting others was also important.
"The vaccine is safe and effective. We wanted to protect them from severe COVID, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, and any potential long term side effects COVID can have for kids in up to 7-10% of them," Dr. Turkovich said.
The vaccine is available at pediatricians offices, county health departments and pharmacies, like CVS.
"Use the CVS app or go on CVS.com. If you put in your location, you'll be able to find the store that's closest and most convenient for you that will have it on this initial rollout," Anthony Cocuzza, New York District Leader for CVS, said.
While appointments are encouraged, CVS will also take walk-ins.
Dr. Turkovich said he feels better as a parent now that his sons have taken their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Actually, today's my birthday," Dr. Turkovich said, "It's actually one of the best birthday presents, not only for me, but for my family."