Excitement, and some outrage: Bay Area parents react as kids become eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

MARIN, Calif. (KGO) -- For all of the parents excited about their child getting the vaccine, there are also parents with reservations -- some more than others.

In Marin County on Wednesday, ABC7 News saw the two sides of the issue: parents going above and beyond to make the shot a positive experience for their children, and parents who are flat-out opposed to it.

"I do not want our government playing Russian roulette with my child's life," Yvette Corkrean, a registered nurse, said at a protest with other parents in San Rafael.

The protest was part of a worldwide walkout to protest vaccine and other COVID mandates.

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"I appreciate having the choice but I don't appreciate being told this is something I have to do," protester Suzzane Gooch added.

The protest was representative for just how divisive vaccines have become. While those parents did not want to vaccinate their children, Marin County officials say their phone has been ringing off the hook with parents eager to get their kids an appointment for the shot.

"There's been strong support from this from our parent community all along," Ken Lippi, the deputy superintendent for Marin County public schools, told ABC7 News.

He said even in Marin County -- which has the highest vaccination rate of any county in the state -- he understands there are parents who have concerns.

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"This is a very big decision. We don't minimize that," Lippi said. "But we are also so clear it's the right thing to do."

Marin County has received 2,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The first vaccination site will open this Saturday at Miller Creek Elementary School in San Rafael. The sites will then rotate to different public schools throughout the county each weekend this month.

For some parents, the COVID-19 vaccine is scarier for their kids -- who might be nervous about getting a shot -- than it is for them.

To make the experience a little more enjoyable, Cathy Taylor, who works at UCSF Medical Center and is the founder of Ouchless ER Project, has been gathering donations to purchase large cut-out posters of popular movie and cartoon characters, colorful band-aids, stickers, and anything else she could think of to make the vaccination sites more kid-friendly. There's also crayons and coloring books to occupy the kids during their 15 minute waiting period after the shot.

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"The anxiety build-up for a shot for a kid varies from 5-11 year olds," Taylor said. "Their needs are so different, so when we put just a little bit of something for them to look at, or hold, or bubbles to distract, the shot is nothing."

Taylor said she hopes these extra distractions will help Marin County reach its goal of vaccinating 75% of the 5-11 year old age group by the end of the month.

Taylor dropped off all of the donations -- including giant posters donated from the San Francisco Giants -- with the Marin County Department of Public Health. They will be used at all of the vaccination sites at Marin County public schools this month.

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