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Utah's Hogle Zoo hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children

Owen Turpin, 5, gets a COVID-19 vaccine at the Hogle Zoo on Friday. (Winston Armani, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Children ages 5 to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at clinics being hosted by Utah's Hogle Zoo this weekend.

The clinics will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and a two-dose primary series of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine will be offered to children.

The clinic is free and parental or legal guardian consent is required for this age group. Children must also be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

"We are committed to the health and safety of our local community and state, and we are honored to partner with health officials to host this event," said Hogle Zoo CEO and president Doug Lund.

Owen Turpin, 5, visited the zoo with his mother Friday so he could get the vaccine.

"I had to get a shot on my arm and I got a Panda Band-Aid," he said.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is important to him because he doesn't want to spread the virus among his friends and family.

"That's why I came in to get a shot," he said.

He was also pretty excited about a day at the zoo after taking care of his vaccination.

"Quarantine was really hard for him," said Owen's mother, Camila Turpin. "We couldn't see our friends. We couldn't go to any activities. So, I just let him know, if you want to continue to do those things and be safe, we have to get the shot."

It's important for the protection of their entire family, too.

"Just so we can continue to see our family, and also, my youngest has a compromised airway. So, when he gets something like a common cold, he gets croup, which obstructs his airway more, so we just want to be safe," she said.

Hogle Zoo is even giving children a chance to see some of their ambassador animals up close, like a bearded dragon.

"If parents decide to bring their kids down, it's a happy experience, rather than being something too stressful they can enjoy it," said Jeff Meigs, Hogle Zoo digital media specialist. "They can relax."

Parents can register here. The vaccine is free and participants do not need insurance.

Immunizers will be at the zoo's events pavilion to facilitate the vaccination process, provide guidance through the process and administer vaccines.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from both the FDA and CDC for kids ages 5-11.

A Pfizer study of 2,268 schoolchildren found the kid-sized doses vaccine were nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections, based on 16 cases of COVID-19 among kids given dummy shots compared to just three who got vaccinated.

The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary reactions — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — that teens experience.

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