When North Bend Medical Center received its first doses of the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, a group of children was eager to be among the first to receive the vaccine.

One by one the children moved into a patient room in the pediatric department to receive the vaccine, and despite the slight pain from the shot, they were smiling, laughing and happy.

The group were children of doctors and nurse practitioners at North Bend Medical Center, and their parents were equally happy to have their children among the first to get vaccinated.

Dr. Rajesh Ravuri brought his son Rohan to the clinic, and Rohan had trouble hiding his excitement as he waited to be called back.

“I asked for the vaccine,” Rohan said. “I just want to be able to do more things.”

Dr. Ravuri said getting children vaccinated is another step toward getting out of the pandemic.

“I think you see how the last two years this pandemic has affected the whole world,” Ravuri said. “While the kids may not get as sick with it, they do spread it easily. To get to herd immunity, we need to get kids vaccinated.”

Ravuri, the chief medical officer at North Bend Medical Center, said Rohan has been asking about getting vaccinated for months and was thrilled to be among the first to get the pediatric vaccine.

“My son wanted to be part of the trials because he wants to travel,” Ravuri said. “He wants to go to India to see the Taj Mahal.”

Ravuri said he has seen the impact of COVID firsthand, and while children fare better than most, he is relieved his son was able to get vaccinated.

“As a parent, it gives me a lot of relief knowing he is protected, and when he travels, he will do well,” he said. “Now I know, even if he gets infected, it will be like a small flu.”

Dr. Maynika Rastogi also brought her children to the vaccine clinic. Her son Elias was so excited when he got the vaccine he raised his arms in triumph.

A pediatrician, Rastogi said she had no hesitation in bringing her children to get the vaccine.

“Getting vaccinated keeps them safe, keeps the group safe and it allows them to be kids again,” she said.

While Rastogi is a supporter of the vaccine, she said her children decided whether they wanted to get the shot.

“They wanted to do it themselves,” she said. “This was not forced on them at all. They were so excited to be in here.”

Rastogi said getting her children vaccinated is a step in the right direction.

“This gives the kids the freedom to see their grandparents,” she said. “There’s personal reasons, there’s social reasons, there’s societal reasons. They want to move on with their lives, and this helps them do that.”

Rastogi said children age 5-11 receive the same Pfizer vaccine used in adults, but the does is one third of the size. The children must wait three weeks to get their second vaccine, and two weeks later will be considered fully vaccinated.

Dr. Derek Rogalsky, a general surgeon, also brought his child to the clinic. He said getting his children vaccinated was an easy decision.

“They’ve got a lot of grandparents they love to visit with, and we want to keep everyone in our family said,” he said. “They want to do more play dates from school. Being social is good for kids, and they will be safer if they’re vaccinated.”

Rogalsky, who was first vaccinated last December, said he had no hesitation to bring his children to the clinic.

“I think the science is solid and sound,” he said. “I have no qualms about this. It’s new, but it’s also safe and effective.”

Jesse Dorfmeister, a nurse practitioner at North Bend Medical Center, brought his two daughters to the clinic, and he said he has no hesitation.

“This is to protect our family, to protect our community and because it’s safe,” Dorfmeister said. “Herd immunity is the way to go.”

Ravuri said North Bend Medical Center is opening its pediatric clinic to any family interested in getting a child vaccinated. He said anyone is welcome to come to pediatrics, even without an appointment, for the vaccine, and there will never be a charge.

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