NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- More than 51,000 5-11-year-olds in New York City have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the first week of eligibility, including17,000 at city schools.
Friday afternoon, as sunlight poked through the storm clouds in Carroll Gardens more 5-11-year-olds got their COVID shots.
"I was really nervous and then I started crying and then I felt it and then that didn't hurt that much," 9-year-old Van Wiessmann said.
Wiessmann and the other children each earned $100 for getting vaccinated at a city-run site, an incentive that was available to their older brothers a couple of months ago.
"My brother didn't get the $100 because he got his earlier. He kept saying I get 25%, but he didn't," 9-year-old Bryce said.
P.S. 58 is one of more than a thousand school sites offering the shots.
"Stop the spread. Let the kids have their lives. My 12-year-old didn't go to school for a year and a half practically," mother Carly Strelzik said.
Mayor de Blasio applauded the early turnout, though only around 12% of eligible 5-11-year-old city public school students have received their shots so far.
The mayor stopped short of supporting a student vaccine mandate right now.
"With the group right ahead, the 12-17 year olds a group that has been vaccinated over the last few months, we're almost at 80% there. And we continue to make progress everyday, so that to me is, let's focus on getting kids vaccinated, make sure every kid's in school," de Blasio told WNYC.
The city's 7-day average positivity rate is up slightly from October 28, but hospitalizations are down.
The race to vaccinate continues ahead of a holiday season as families hope to reconnect.
"I just can't wait to spend time with my friends. It's so happy for me to be able to come in contact with my grandma, too. I haven't seen her in a year," 8-year-old James Gregory said.
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