Smriti Khare, MD, president of primary care at Children's Wisconsin, was interviewed for a Children's Hospitals Today story about children's hospitals being at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine efforts.
Children's Wisconsin is among a coalition of more than 100 children's hospitals participating in the Children's Hospitals' COVID Vaccination for Kids Initiative. Children's Hospital Association, in partnership with the Biden administration, is organizing the initiative to elevate the trusted voices and efforts of children's hospitals and health systems in their communities to vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds against COVID-19.
Key to the campaign's success, according to Khare, is engaging entire communities around the effort. To that end, Children's Wisconsin—in partnership with the Milwaukee health department and the city's public and private school systems—is augmenting its own vaccination efforts with more than 20 clinics at area schools.
While the current focus is 5- to 11-year-olds, the mass vaccination clinics are open to anyone on a walk-in or appointment basis—Khare says the hospital's vaccination clinic logged more than 5,000 appointments within days of the online scheduling system's opening. To streamline appointments, Children's Wisconsin has set up a texting system for patients and their families.
"It's a public health disease; it can't be a single family or group of folks mitigating the impact of the pandemic," Khare says. "It is important the community pulls together to make the difference."