Nicklaus Children’s hospital offers COVID-19 vaccine to people ages 16 to 21 with medical conditions

MIAMI (WSVN) - Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami has announced they will provide Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to children and young adults with medical conditions at risk for serious illness if they contract the virus.

Starting on Monday, vaccine appointments can be requested on the hospital’s website for those between the ages of 16 and 21 with a doctor’s note.

“Nicklaus Children’s is committed to our mission of prioritizing the children and young adults of our community and beyond,” said Matthew A. Love, the President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System, the parent organization of the hospital. “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.”

The hospital said those being treated for one or more of the following conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are eligible to receive the vaccine:

  • 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
  • Thalassemia

The hospital received an additional allotment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which allowed them to offer the shot to more people. As of Friday, the hospital has vaccinated 500 eligible patients.

Diego Diaz has been doing his first year at Duke University online in South Florida because the 18-year-old has Cystic fibrosis.

“I have to be very careful when I go outside, so I mostly stay indoors, and the few times I do go outside, I still have to be more cautious than most,” he said.

Diaz was recently one of the 700 at-risk patients at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“With this shot, I’m more comfortable applying for housing for next year,” Diaz said.

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

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marcos Mestre said most children handle COVID-19 well and that this vaccination is more about teenagers helping the older at-risk population.

“We know adolescents don’t always like to follow the rules and like to hang out together and whatnot, so it also helps in terms of preventing the spread,” he said.

Dr. Mestre said for many kids, including Diaz, the vaccine means freedom.

“It’s very common that I get a response that the family, after they’ve received the vaccine, have tears of joy because they’ve been locked up so long with their child who’s at risk, and they’d do anything for their child, so once they get that for their child, they feel like they’re seeing the light at end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Mestre.

Any Florida resident 16 to 21 who is at risk can register to receive the vaccine at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

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