By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4) – Eight-year-old Mason came coasting down the 16th Street Mall with his mother. It was a few hours after he got his COVID-19 vaccination at National Jewish Health in the afternoon.

“No pain,” he said.

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“Yeah, he’s fine,” his mother Marisha Menlove added. She was taking him to get a favorite treat.

“His favorite thing is vanilla bean cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory.”

The two were in town for a visit to National Jewish due to his severe asthma when they got the chance to get the vaccine. They live in Utah after moving out of the city due to what they felt was COVID risk.

“I don’t know, we just got lucky.”

National Jewish Health in Denver opened it doors to parents and their children interested in the COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 3, a day after the CDC gave the green light. Appointments opened as of 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

(credit: Getty Images)

Patients between the ages of 5-11 received a small dosage with a smaller needle compared to those given to adults.

Among them, was 10-year-old Asher, a boy with Down Syndrome, and his 8-year-old brother Auden. His mother, Trish Raque, was one of 51 families which brought their children in.

Raque says he has had problems with respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and RSV in the past. She has paid close attention to his health all his life and has considered the vaccine carefully.

“I think it’s just weighing what we know and what we don’t know. I mean I think the piece of the safety that’s been established and proven is what gives me piece of mind to make the decision,” she said.

Asher, she says, needs school.

“He accesses many of his therapies through school. For him that peer influence is such a huge motivator for learning.”

She was watching the National Jewish website carefully Tuesday evening.

“I guess about starting six I was just refreshing the National Jewish page about every five to ten minutes.” She does not want his to be learning at home again. “That time away from school last year, that was his third grade year. That’s such an important year in terms of education and what’s happening.”

Doctors know there are parents who are hesitant and opposed.

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“We need to reach the herd immunity and certainly vaccinating the pediatric population from 5-11 and 12 to 18 will help,” said Dr. Hara Levy, National Jewish Health’s head of pediatric pulmonary unit.

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to be used for children aged 5 to 11 at the Child Health Associates office in Novi, Michigan on November 3, 2021. – An expert panel unanimously recommended Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine for five- to 11-year-olds on November 2, the penultimate step in the process that will allow injections in young children to begin this week in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top US public health agency, was expected to endorse that recommendation later in the day. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

They know they have to take the temperature down in the discussion. No children died in vaccine trials. It was well tolerated, but children are still getting very sick from COVID-19.

“There are thousands that have been in intensive care units in this country. We’re seeing dyspnea (shortness of breath), exercise intolerance, what they’re calling brain fog, so it’s something that you just don’t want to get.”

Downtown, Glenda and Charlie Haupt were out with their grandson Aden to celebrate Charlie’s birthday. He’s signed up for vaccination next week.

“We’ve got to get back to normalcy. We just really have to,” said Glenda. “He was even saying tonight, when are we going to go to school with no masks?”

Aden chimed in, “Yeah. I want to get vaccinated so I don’t have to wear a mask!”

National Jewish says it completed 51 vaccinations on Wednesday. More are expected Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Online registration will open on Nov. 4.

Several other hospitals, health departments and pharmacies also started distributing vaccines. Find more information below:

Children’s Hospital campuses across Colorado

  • Mobile clinics and appointments start Nov. 5

CVS Pharmacies

  • Appointments starting Nov. 7

Denver Public Schools & Denver Health

  • Available starting Nov. 8

Jefferson County

  • Appointments available M-Th, 7 a.m.- 12 p.m., 1 p.m.- 5 p.m.

National Jewish Health

Routt County

  • Clinics starting Nov. 12
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Statewide COVID vaccine information

Alan Gionet