But now, children 6 months and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, with Walgreens vaccinating ages 3 and up, and parents like healthcare supervisor Brad Lawson are breathing easier. His 3-year-old daughter Mattie Grace finally received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It provides us with so much relief,” says Lawson, who started his Walgreens career five years ago as a pharmacy manager.
Lawson, who lives with his wife Jordan and their three in children in Little Rock, Arkansas, says his older sons—11-year-old Parker and 9-year-old Peyton—received their shots earlier in the pandemic.
“Now Mattie will be protected, and we’ll also be able to protect those around us,” he says.
While vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue in Lawson’s community, as well as in other communities across the U.S., the delayed rollout of the COVID vaccine for children under 5 actually gives him more confidence in it now.
“When the FDA did not grant the emergency authorization to Pfizer earlier this year, it really resonated with me,” Lawson says. “They didn’t have enough data, so they held off. They didn’t give the OK until they had enough evidence that it was safe and effective.”
Lawson’s voice was full of emotion when he talked about Walgreens’ role in the pandemic.
“I have extreme pride in my team, our company and in our profession as pharmacists in how we were able to answer the call,” Lawson says. “To have the White House ask Walgreens to help fight this virus was an honor.”
For example, in the early days of the pandemic, he says local team members transformed closed Walgreens stores into COVID-19 testing sites. And one of his stores was the first in the Little Rock area to have drive-thru COVID testing.
“Those early days were a bit like putting our parachute together after jumping out of the plane, but I am so proud of what we were able to accomplish,” Lawson says. “And to give out those first vaccines at long-term care facilities was so special, to help those people finally see their loved ones after such a long time.”
So the adults got their vaccines first, then children ages 5 and up—and now it’s Mattie’s turn.
“She said that the shots she gets from her pediatrician in her legs hurt really bad, but this one in her arm hurt ‘only a little,’” Lawson says with a smile. “She didn’t cry at all, and overall it was a great experience for Mattie and our family.”
Appointments can be scheduled through Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, the Walgreens app or by calling 1-800-Walgreens.