‘Afterwards I got a sticker’: Hundreds of children line up for Covid-19 vaccine

Operation ‘running like a dream’ at Swords centre as rollout extends to those aged 5-11

Thousands of parents and their children have turned out at for the first public vaccinations for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

There were queues before the opening of the National Show Centre in Swords, Co Dublin at 9am on Saturday morning, but they quickly cleared.

From Saturday all 5- to 11-year-olds will be offered a primary dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Hospital Report

Some 7,500 vulnerable children already received the first dose of vaccine before it was opened up more generally.

Since the portal opened on Monday, more than 73,000 children have been registered by their parents for a vaccine.

Children were given stickers and biscuits in many cases after their vaccination. Sarah Breen, the co-author of the bestselling Aisling books and a mother-of-three tweeted: "Hundreds and hundreds of kids at the vaccine centre in Swords this morning and the whole operation is running like a dream. Huge thanks to all the staff and volunteers."

Linda Stewart who brought her children, Alex (11) and Amelia (8) for vaccination said the whole process took an hour from arrival to finish.

She said she had researched the issue before deciding that their children should be vaccinated.

“It wasn’t an easy decision when it was announced that the children were being vaccinated. A lot of thought went into it. I feel it is what we have to do to protect the kids,” she explained.

“When you read about long Covid in children and you hear about children ending up in ICU, for us it was the right decision.”

Suzanne Garvey, a national school teacher, who brought her eight-year-old daughter Ciara for vaccination said she was "delighted" that her child had received the vaccine.

“I was happy to have her vaccinated. Now that she is back on school, there is a big increase in the numbers and it is great to have her safe,” she said.

“It is a worry with the number of cases being so high and being in such a confined space with other children. You don’t know what other families are doing and how safe they are being at home. It is great to have all the children vaccinated.”

Paulo Carbone, who brought his 10-year-old daughter Allegra for vaccination, said there was a lot of vaccination hesitancy in his home country of Italy and it was causing a social divide.

Mr Carbone said said it had been proved “beyond doubt” that vaccines work as they have been given to billions of people.

“I had no hesitation whatsoever. I did my research. You need to trust science. Any treatment has risks, but when the risks outweigh the risks of Covid-19, that’s when you take the treatment.”

Allegra was happy with her vaccination saying that it was “only a pinch and afterwards I got a sticker”.

Denisa and Rad Dolzal, who live in Killester, brought their children Piri (8) and Teemu (5).

Both parents work in healthcare. "We know how hard this is and we need to support all the kids and all the families and just go and get it," Ms Dolzal said.

Mr Dolzal added that the vaccination programme is the only way out of the pandemic.