coronavirus vaccine

Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami Offers Covid Vaccine to At-Risk Kids, Young Adults

Vaccines available to people 16 to 21 with certain medical conditions

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Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami is offering COVID-19 vaccines to children and young adults with certain medical conditions.

The vaccines are available to people 16 to 21 who are under the care of physicians or specialists for medical conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control as posing an increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19, the hospital said Friday.

For Maria Milagros Chasin's parents, getting her protected with a vaccine has been nearly miraculous. Her name means "miracle" -- and with severe cerebral palsy, she is extremely susceptible to COVID-19.

“She doesn’t talk, but I know her well enough to see if she’s not feeling well," said Maria Chasin, Maria Milagros’ mom. "But she was fine, and this is a blessing to have her vaccinated because I don’t want her to get the COVID. I won’t give the COVID the opportunity to take my child away."

The hospital has already vaccinated 500 eligible kids and young adults through outreach to other area hospitals and health systems, as well as pediatricians.

An additional allotment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was recently received by the hospital, which will begin offering more appointments on Monday, March 8, through their website.

"While most children are only mildly affected by COVID-19, those with complex conditions may be at risk of severe illness if they contract the virus. We are honored to be able to offer the vaccine to support the care of vulnerable children in Florida,' said Matthew A. Love, President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System.

Nicklaus Children’s is offering the vaccine to children and young adults ages 16 to 21 who provide written correspondence from a physician confirming that they are being treated for one or more of the conditions identified by the CDC as increasing the risk associated with COVID-19.

These include:

  • asthma (moderate to severe)
  • cancer
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • cystic fibrosis
  • diabetes (type 1 or 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • heart conditions
  • hypertension
  • immunocompromised conditions
  • liver disease
  • neurologic conditions
  • obesity
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • sickle cell disease or thalassemia

Individuals older than 21 and under the medical care of a pediatrician or pediatric specialist are also being evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the hospital said.

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“Many times, the young adolescents and young adults get forgotten in all this because it’s been a disease more of adulthood, but we do see some complications in children who have underlying conditions,” said Dr. Marc Mestre of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “A lot of times we say most teenagers are gonna do well, there’s not gonna be any complications ... we know that teenagers do have a role in the spread of COVID-19, especially to family members.”

For Maria Milagros’ family, not getting her vaccinated when the opportunity arose was never an option. 

“I prefer to deal with maybe one or two days of reactions to the vaccine than to deal with her in the hospital,” her mother said.

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