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Some Michiana parents get kids vaccinated as eligibility opens to 5 to 11-year-olds

(Provided by IU Health)

Erin Clark is an emergency room doctor in South Bend, so she’s pretty familiar with COVID-19.

“Working in the emergency department, I really had a firsthand view of how terrible this pandemic has and continues to be – mostly on those who are unvaccinated,” she said. 


Clark’s husband is an OB/GYN, so they were both following vaccine progress closely. When the Indiana Department of Health opened vaccine eligibility to 5 to 11-year olds Wednesday, Clark pulled her 5-year-old son out of school early and took him to the County-City Building to get vaccinated.


“He was really excited, actually, afterward – not while it was actually happening, but he was excited afterward,” Clark said. “He was basically telling everybody that he had gotten it, he was showing off his sticker.”


On Thursday, Clark said her son was feeling fine – he went to swimming lessons and the Railroad Museum in Elkhart with no side effects. 


She said it’s normal for parents to be hesitant about new vaccines, but that the benefits of vaccinating kids against COVID far outweigh the costs.


“We do know that kids don’t get as sick, but they certainly can and do spread it to other kids who can – in turn – spread it to other unvaccinated or undervaccinated individuals,” she said. “It’s okay to be a little nervous and a little bit hesitant, but listen to the experts and keep asking questions.


Beyond general public health, Clark said it will be good for her son to be vaccinated – it will reduce his chances of missing school, for example.


“For someone who’s in kindergarten who loves school and had an interrupted school year last year, missing out on two weeks is no small thing,” Clark said. “He likes hanging out with his friends, and kindergarteners don’t do very well with online learning.”


She said it also opens up more options for the family, like visiting Clark’s sister in Hawaii or interacting more freely with elderly grandparents. She said she’s looking forward to when her 3-year-old can get the shot, too.


“I had no reservations about vaccinating my child,” Clark said. “I’m extraordinarily excited that he got to be vaccinated so early and I look forward to all kids having this opportunity sometime soon.”


Parents or guardians can make a vaccination appointment for children 5 and older at


Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.