IN GOES a COVID-19 vaccine and out comes a big sigh of relief.
Parents have responded in overwhelming numbers to the call for kids to get the jab since appointments officially opened for ages five to 11 earlier this week.
Tamworth mother Jessie Smith was reminded how important rolling up those tiny sleeves was when she made the nerve-wracking discovery that her two children were exposed to COVID-19 just a couple of days after their first dose.
She told the Leader her six-year-old daughter Darcie and seven-year-old son Maison were "cool" about getting the jab because they knew it meant protecting nan and pop, family, friends and the community.
Ms Smith said she hoped kids answering the COVID-19 vaccine call would help with their education as well, with so many events changed or on hold.
"My kids have only known school during COVID," she said.
"I'm really excited because the more kids that get vaccinated, the more they are going to learn about the fun side of schooling as well."
Maison and Darcie were brave and smiled through their needles, as the staff from Better Health South Tamworth entertained them.
They had little but a sore arm the next day, and a brightly coloured special band aid helped numb any pain.
Better Health South Tamworth practice coordinator Sue Pring told the Leader they had been overwhelmed with parents keen to protect their children since paediatric doses started rolling in.
The clinic managed to use up its allocation of 200 doses per fortnight in less than two days, a supply level Ms Pring slammed as "extremely frustrating".
"If I could get my hands on more actual vaccines from the government I would do it every day," she said.
When other surgeries across town open their first ever kids' vaccine clinics on the weekend, Better Health South Tamworth won't because their stocks won't yet be replenished.
But, Ms Pring said they will continue soon and were happy to be helping get as many children immunised against COVID-19 as possible before school goes back, as the virus continues to sweep through the community.
"It has amazed me how good all the kids have been, they just want to get it done because their nan and pop did, their dad did, their mum did," Ms Pring said.
"They knew how important it was to protect everyone else ... it was so refreshing to see that the kids understood the community needed to be safe."
It has amazed me how good all the kids have been, they just want to get it done because their nan and pop did, their dad did, their mum did.Sue Pring, Better Heath South Tamworth
Smith Street Practice is preparing to run its first kids' clinic on the weekend for some of the youngest patients on its books.
Practice manager Jo-anne Bacon told the Leader the 200 paediatric doses for the fortnight - scheduled to go in young arms this Saturday and the one after - had already been snapped up.
"It's been a really good response," she said.
"We have had to bring some extra staff in ... they have been very willing to put their hands up and help with the vaccine rollout."
Ms Bacon said the clinic was trying to make the day a fun one for its little patients and would have volunteer medical students dressing up, entertainment and treats on offer.
"We are trying to make it a fun experience for the children to eliminate fear of vaccines," she said.
Northwest Health and the hospital are among the local services jabbing kids this weekend.
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