Henry Ford Health System is making it its mission to help adolescents and children safely get vaccinated, in efforts to return to normalcy and protect people of all ages from the COVID-19 virus.
The health system partnered with the Metro Detroit school districts to host a series of vaccine clinics to help get shots in arms of adolescents ages 12 and older. The campaign, which runs through mid-June, targets sites in the region that have been hit harder by COVID-19 and have lower vaccination rates. Henry Ford Health spokeswoman Kim North Shine said 200 to 300 appointments were being scheduled per day at the vaccine clinics on school sites.
And to further learn more about the vaccine in children, Henry Ford has opened a clinical trial — the KidCOVE study — for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 11 years old. The health system remains the only enrollment site in the state of Michigan for the vaccine study, and its physician leaders have touted the pilot program as a pivotal step to help protect children against COVID-19 and increase vaccination efforts.
One of the study’s biggest proponents, Tisa Johnson-Hooper, M.D., interim chair of the Henry Ford Medical Group and a primary care practicing pediatrician, encouraged other parents to consider enrolling their child in the pilot program to help make a difference in the next phase of vaccine research. KidCOVE participation will last 14 months with a mix of required in-person clinic visits and virtual visits.
“As a pediatrician, I am so anxious to get children vaccinated. Kids really do want their lives back, and I really do think this is one step closer,” said Johnson-Hooper. “This is a time of hope, and I’m very hopeful that those who participate in this study, while they themselves may not derive individual benefit, they will benefit from the knowledge that we have about this vaccine and help our community — and help us come out of this pandemic.”
Johnson-Hooper recently answered frequently asked questions about children and the COVID-19 vaccines, encouraging parents to vaccinate their children to keep them safe and help end the pandemic as quickly as possible.
The health system’s website offers a wealth of other information on COVID-19 vaccines, including videos with Henry Ford physicians addressing concerns related to vaccination — such as fertility and pregnancy — and blogs discussing such topics as how to engage in conversation with people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated.
In addition to focusing on helping more children get vaccinated, Henry Ford is offering vaccinations at its large vaccination sites and a variety of other locations throughout its communities. Besides schools, the health system partners with municipal offices, places of worship, senior centers and businesses to offer vaccines. Each week, Henry Ford’s staff members are vaccinating thousands of people through these efforts.